Coffee Flour- Yes, That Would be Flour Made From Coffee

Carter* and I** were browsing articles about food, and we found this one about coffee flour.  To say the least, we are intrigued.  We know you’re not surprised that the two of us sit around in our spare time reading about food.

We’d like to know, have any of you used it?  We know a lot of you love to cook as much as we do.

It is gluten-free, and according to CoffeeFlour.com, it contains fiber, protein, iron, antioxidants, and potassium.

Suggested uses are to make it into pasta, baked goods, and granola.

We’ll be sure to share the news if we experiment with it.

Dana and Carter

*Carter is now a young chef in the Natural Gifts series of uplifting paranormal romances.  **Dana is technically his stepmother, but practically she is his mother, boss, and mentor.  You can read about how they met in The Dreaming (book one), when she fell in love with his Dad, Joe.

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Short Stories From The Dreaming Excerpt – How Meredith and George Got Together

Short Stories From The Dreaming (7)

Short Stories From The Dreaming is only $.099 for Kindle right now.

If you’re new to my Natural Gifts series of uplifting paranormal romances, then you haven’t met Meredith and George Robin.  They are Dana’s parents, one of the main characters in the first book in the series, The Dreaming.

Meredith and George have set quite an example for Dana; one she’s not sure she could live up to.

For those of you who are reading the series, there are no spoilers in the story if you have read through chapter 27 of “The Dreaming”.

I hope you enjoy…

How Meredith and George Got Together

Joe held the door open for Meredith, Dana, and then George, to go into the house for lunch.  His future in-laws hadn’t made him nervous, but George was relaxing more with him now, which helped Joe to relax more with him.  He respected Dana’s father’s approach to trying to warn him away from Dana.  Now that he was passing inspection, they were getting to know one another.

“Dana, where’s the restroom?”  Meredith asked when she walked far enough inside to see that she couldn’t see it from where she was standing.  The front door opened right into the informal dining room, where a huge wooden table took up the space.

“It’s this way, Mom.”  Dana led her mother into the hallway, where she pointed down the long row of doors.  “It’s the first door on the right.”

“Thank you, Dana.”  Meredith looked at the family pictures as she walked down the hallway.  Carter was getting younger as she walked toward the restroom.  Meredith ventured to the end of the hall, curious to see if there were pictures of Carter with his mother.  There was one.  Joe and a pretty dark-haired woman held a sleeping baby Carter across their laps.

Sounds from the kitchen reminded Meredith that she was hungry.  She hurried to the restroom and back out to join her family.

“What are you making for us, you two?”  Meredith placed a hand on Dana’s shoulder, peering over to the food on the counter.

“Deli sandwiches.”  Joe answered.  He’d grown up on a working ranch, and helped in the kitchen.  He still couldn’t keep up with Dana.  Instead of trying, he tried to organize the ingredients he knew she was going to need.

“And coleslaw, potato salad, macaroni salad…”  Dana turned to Joe.  “You thought of everything.”

“Carter went with me.  He’s getting into cooking now.  He’s trying food he didn’t even care about before.”

“Dana has that effect on people,” George said from the kitchen table.  Joe had set him up with a beer, which he took a drink from.

“Definitely,” Meredith agreed.

“Carter mentioned that your whole family lives in Walnut.  Have you seen much of them since you moved here?”  Meredith asked, pouring herself an Arnold Palmer and then sitting at the table with George.

“We haven’t seen them since the move, but we will be seeing them for the Fourth of July weekend at Big Bear Lake.  Dana is going to meet the whole crew at once.”
Dana brought a platter of sliced meats and cheeses to the table.  A big bowl held rolls.  Smaller containers of salads sat at the ends of the larger platter.  There was a finishing touch of a relish tray holding olives, peperoncini, mustard, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, and onion.

“He tells me I shouldn’t feel nervous about meeting his entire family all at once.”  Dana scoffed at his easygoing manner.

“Rip the Band-Aid off, right, Joe?”  George chuckled.

“I don’t think it’s a bad idea to get it over with, but I didn’t plan it that way.  My parents had the idea, and now that we’re engaged, it makes sense that Dana and the twins should join us.”  Joe’s words were reassuring, even if he was enjoying seeing Dana feeling ruffled.  She was always in control.  Always confident.  Seeing her like this was a novelty.  He knew his family would love her, otherwise he wouldn’t have asked her and the twins to go with him and Carter this time.

George layered his sandwich with more pastrami than he knew his wife would approve of.  She was deep in thought over Dana meeting Joe’s family en masse.  George was being careful to block Meredith’s view of his sandwich.  He knew she wouldn’t embarrass them by scolding him if he was already eating it.

Meredith bumped his leg under the table to let him know he wasn’t getting away with anything.

Dana finished building her sandwich.  Joe noticed that she used a small amount of cheese and meat, then packed it with vegetables.  She lived what she wrote about.

Meredith and Joe each made sandwiches that fell in between Dana and George’s.  In fact, they made sandwiches that the other would have made for themselves.
They spent a few minutes eating before Meredith started up the conversation again.  Hearing Dana and Joe talk about meeting his family all at once reminded her of the day she and George met.  “Joe, has Dana told you the story of how George and I got together?”

Joe shook his head no.  His mouth was too full to risk trying to talk.

George chuckled, leaning back in his chair to loosen his belt for the second half of the giant sandwich he intended to finish.

“I met George at his engagement party.  It was in the spring of 1959.  I was home from school for the break and my parents insisted that I join them.  They knew the bride’s family, which is why we went.  My parents hoped that I would meet a local boy from a good family and come back home to live instead of going to school in Texas.”  Meredith chuckled at the memory.

George added in, “The minute I saw her, I knew it was over for me and Katie.  Katie was a nice woman, but I could tell right away that Meredith had a fun streak in her.  My parents were the ones that were pushing me to marry Katie sooner than I was ready for.  Heck if I know why I let them.”

Joe laughed with the three who knew the story, enjoying the telling of it as much as they did.

Meredith nodded, laughing as she told them, “George looked like he had a noose around his neck.  I think at first I was an excuse to get out of his engagement.  I didn’t take him seriously for a year after he called it off.”

“It’s good that you didn’t take me seriously.  I didn’t want another noose around my neck.  I wanted to go out and have a good time with someone who knew how to do that.  That was what attracted me to you.  It’s what still keeps me attracted to you more than fifty years later.”

“My parents have been married for about that long,” Joe said after he swallowed a mouthful of coleslaw.  “Makes me wonder about Dana and I.  We came from solid marriages.  What happened to us?  Aren’t we supposed to have a better handle on married life because our parents are still together?”

“I think times are more complicated for your generation than they were for ours,” Meredith shared her opinion of why marriages struggled more in recent times.
“Wait, we’re getting off track,” Dana gestured to her mother.  “You told the story of how you met, but the story I like to hear is the one about how the two of you decided to get married.”

George and Meredith looked at one another.  Their hands moved together on their own.  Those hands had spent a lot of time together.  They were a perfect fit.
“Your mom was a wily one, Dana.  I had to run to keep up with her.  She was finishing her degree two states away.  People that didn’t know us thought I was crazy, letting my steady girlfriend live in Texas.

“If I had tried to move in on her too soon, or tried to make her transfer to a school in Arizona, I would have lost her.”

“Is that what you think, George?”  Meredith squeezed his hand.  “I don’t think I would have let you get away that easily.”

George chuckled.  “I wasn’t going to take the chance.”

“Now I know where you get your playfulness from,” Joe told Dana, tapping her on the arm as he said it.

“Yep,” George agreed with Joe.  “Dana’s apple did not fall far from her mother’s tree.  There was only one thing Meredith and I couldn’t do in our marriage, and that was to have more children.  No matter what we did, Dana was the only one.”

“She was a surprise, too.  I remember the day I went for my annual and the doctor asked me about my cycle.  It hadn’t occurred to me that I was pregnant after we stopped trying years before.  I was busy with life and hadn’t noticed that my cycles had stopped two months before.”  Meredith’s voice softened as she shared with Joe what that miracle day had felt like for her, and later when she met George for dinner at their favorite “splurge” restaurant to tell him about their child.

“I love this story.”  Dana put her arm around her mother’s shoulder for a soft hug.  Meredith’s quiet floral perfume tickled Dana’s nose when she rubbed against Meredith’s shirt.

“My sister Sandy jokes that she wishes she had that problem.  You’ll be meeting her and her brood at the lake.  Perspective changes everything, doesn’t it?”  Joe smiled at Dana.  He appreciated that she had good parents.  It was one more reason they fit so well together.

“More kids for Dana to spoil?  Bring them on,” Meredith joked to her daughter.
Dana brought the conversation back to the story she wanted Joe to hear.  Maybe her parents felt embarrassed to tell him before they knew him better.  “Back to how Dad finally convinced Mom to marry him,” Dana prompted, looking to her mother, and then her father, to continue the story.

“Meredith eventually did come home, with an impressive degree in psychology. She wanted a career as a social worker. If there was one subject Meredith avoided, it was the subject of her getting married. My father-in-law expected that she would be a spinster by choice.”

Dana couldn’t take it anymore.  “Dad is the wily one.  He talked her into marrying him by presenting their marriage as a résumé enhancer for Mom.  A married social worker would be graded above a single one, at least until the children came along.  Besides, having a husband meant that she could move out of her parents’ house.  Mom fell for it, or at least she let him think so.”

“George knew exactly how to turn my head.  He always did.  In that first year we started dating casually, there wasn’t another man who understood me the way your father did.  That’s how he landed the most eligible woman in Arizona.”

George had no argument with that.

Those two stole my heart!

As always, thank you for reading,

Gina

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Short Stories From The Dreaming – Jenny & Cat Sing Karaoke

Short Stories From The Dreaming (7)

When I asked readers which story stories they would like to read based on my debut paranormal romance The Dreaming, I was reaching when I suggested that I write the story of what happened with Jenny and Cat while Joe and Dana were out on their first official date.  Imagine my surprise when Jenny and Cat Sing Karaoke received the most votes!

More good news for Cat’s fans – she will appear in the next Natural Gifts release, No Yesterdays.

Please enjoy Jenny and Cat Sing Karaoke, and you can listen to their playlist

while you read.

Jenny flipped through the pages of Teenage Dream magazine, waiting for Cat to call and say that her mom had sprung her from taking care of Cat’s younger brother, Dylan.  When the call came in, Jenny would pop into her bug and go to Cat’s house to pick her up.  They were probably going to stop at Sonic for a burger, fries, and a shake.  Jenny’s mom, Dana, was out on her first date with Carter’s dad, Joe, so they were on their own for dinner.  Maybe Jim would be able to meet them there.  No, Jenny discarded the idea right away.  She wanted to spend time with Cat, away from Jim, because Cat often felt like a third wheel when the three of them went out together.

Jenny and Cat had been friends since the second grade, when Cat’s family moved to Joshua Tree and Cat joined her class at school.  Laurie, Cat’s mom, and Dana, were both room mothers, so they spent time together after school while their moms volunteered together.

Jenny figured that Cat was the one person in the world she could tell anything to.  Cat was the only person she ever talked to about her father, whom no one talked about anymore.  Cat understood that Jenny had always been closer to her mother, but that she still missed the rare times when her dad would come barreling through the door and call out for her and her brother Jason to “Get over here.  Where are my matching munchkins?”

When he called out for them that way, they would both go running to him.  He would pick them up at the same time, and swing them around.  Mom would come out of the kitchen, laughing, and they would share a group hug.  Those moments were Jenny’s favorites.

Her reverie broke because of the sounds coming from Jason’s room of him and Carter playing a video game loud enough for her to hear through her closed bedroom door, even with her music up louder than she needed it.  Cat’s custom ringtone, “Right Now”, by Rihanna, couldn’t hope to compete.  Jenny went to turn Skrillex down, turning “Cinema” up during the best part so she could dance along with it, then lowering the volume again so she would be able to hear her phone.
A giggly voice announced that she had received a “text message.”  Jenny launched onto her bed to bounce the phone up, then caught it in the air.  Jim’s message asked her how she was doing.  Her fingers flew over the keypad.  “Waiting.”  Then, “Cat’s coming over to spend the night when she’s done watching her brother.  You?”

Jim answered, “Bored.  Nothing to do.”

Jenny couldn’t relate.  Boredom didn’t happen to her.  “Do you want to Skype until Cat’s ready?”

Jim grunted in his living room, where he sat on a couch 100% by himself.  It was Friday night, his girl had a car, and he was spending it alone so she could hang out with her friend.  Man, if Cat could get a guy, they could go and do things together.

“Sure,” he answered Jenny, then moved to his laptop to set it up.

Jenny booted her laptop and accepted his call, happy to talk with him.  She’d been thinking about what he would do tonight.  She wasn’t allowed to have him over when her mom wasn’t home until Dana knew him better.  It took her mom forever to trust people in the house when she wasn’t home.

She swiped on light purple lipstick and checked herself in the mirror before she sat in front of her camera to greet her boyfriend.  “Hi,” she chirped to him, waving.
“Hey,” Jim lounged back, thinking of that kiss he’d slipped her behind the gym building earlier.  She was starting to get into it.  There were times when he felt much older than Jenny.

Peaches barked at her bedroom door.  “Hold on, Jim.  Peaches wants to come into the room with me.”

“Yeah, okay,” Jim watched her walk to the door and let one of her dogs into the room.

Above Jenny’s desk was a cork bulletin board filled with pictures.  The biggest was one of her and Jim.  It was her favorite, because it showed off how cute he was with his dark brown hair and brown eyes.  She loved his smile.

Jenny sat in the chair while Peaches and Cream made themselves comfortable on her bed.  “Peaches was asking for both of them.  I wonder why Cream doesn’t ask to come in.”

Jim shrugged.  “She’s got her trained to do it for her, maybe.”  They seemed like cool dogs to him.

Jenny eyed both dogs, thinking over their reactions.  It was possible that Peaches and Cream arranged it like that.  Peaches usually did go first, like their names went.  Huh.

“Jen,” Jim called her attention back to him.

Jenny turned around playfully, pushing down and spinning her desk chair until her ponytail swung around with her.  “Yeah!”

He had to laugh.  She was kooky and kind of crazy.  When he added in that she was gorgeous and sweet, well, that’s why she was his girlfriend.  Too many of the girls he had liked before were missing the “r” in girlfriend.  They were girlfiends.

Cat’s ringtone signaled the end of his night with Jenny.  He knew that if she was spending the evening with him, it would be Cat who was waiting until morning to talk with Jenny.  It didn’t mean he liked it.  He knew it would be that way, because Jenny had learned presence from her mother.  Mind and body in the same place, at the same time.

“That’s Cat,” they said at the same time.  Then laughed together.

“Right on.  I’ll see you tomorrow, Jen.”

“Tomorrow!” she agreed wholeheartedly, blowing him a kiss and ending the call.  She grabbed her phone at the last moment before it would go to voice mail.  “Heya, Catrina.”

Cat sighed, more than ready to party Cat and Jenny style.

“That bad?” Jenny asked.

Cat sighed again, then shook the tension off her shoulders.  “I wouldn’t mind if my brother was more like Jason.  Sometimes I don’t think he knows you exist.”

How could Jenny explain that being twins meant that they hardly ever needed to talk to one another to know what was happening?  People talked about it, but they didn’t know unless it was happening to them.  She summed it up for Cat by saying that she liked the way Jason was with her, too.

“How’s about I come and spring you from your prison?  We could score a burger at Sonic and then pig out on ice cream and cookies here.  I’m ready for a sugar rush.”
Cat laughed, remembering that Dana wasn’t home for most of the night.  “I’m waiting outside.  That’s how ready I am.”
* * *
“They’re going to get loud,” Jason warned Carter when he saw Jenny and Cat run past the family room window.
Carter had a lot of cousins.  He figured he could handle two.  He turned back to the movie as a bloody body part hit the screen.  That one looked pretty real.  Jason turned back to the movie, too, after he closed the blinds.

Jenny threw open the slider to usher Cat, Peaches, and Cream in, then flung it closed.  It rattled when it hit the frame, which made all four of them flinch.

“Be careful,” Cat laughed.  “You’ll get me banned from being here without your mom.”

Jenny slowed her racing heart, dragging in ragged breaths.  “Yeah, I know,” she answered, trying to catch her breath.  She was laughing so hard she couldn’t breathe.  If anyone asked her, she wouldn’t be able to answer in a way they understood what it was that made her and Cat laugh hysterically when they were together.

“Karaoke time!”  Jenny yelled, unofficially asking if Jason wanted to join in.  Carter was probably too shy.

“Finally.”  Cat grabbed for the machine and put her current favorite song on first.  Balloons and stars floated all over the screen until the lyrics started scrolling by.  She handed Jenny a wireless microphone, then posed in front of the mirror. Cat flung her arms out wide, started swinging her hips, eyes closed, as the music moved her.

“I think you are a professional singer, Cat.”  Jenny envied her skill.  She didn’t even have to try to keep up with the fast songs.  She could dance hard and still sing without getting winded.

“But it’s not practical,” Cat mimicked their Physics teacher.

“Neither is being stuck in a lab when all you want to do is sing and dance on a stage in front of a crowd.  All the degrees in the world won’t give that to you.”

“How are you so deep, Jenny?”  This was the part of their friendship that no one else saw or even guessed existed.

“Deep?”  Jenny squealed and pressed the buttons for Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”.  It was her favorite because it was easy for her to sound good at it.  Cat let Jenny have her good time with the song, even though she loved to sing it, too.

Talk of the future, of depth, of seriousness of any kind, was gone for the night.  Cat chose “Jungle Boogie” in the style of Kool and the Gang for her next pick.  She wanted to dance in their silly, funky way, which neither would ever admit to.
Jenny rolled that into “Walk Like an Egyptian,” which made her wish her room was big enough to have a trampoline in it.  They used the bed as a trampoline, which had Peaches and Cream asking to leave the room.

Cat opened the door to let the dogs out, letting in cool air.  They stood in front of the door until Jenny ran over and put on “Who Let the Dogs Out,” screaming that Cat let the dogs out.

They closed the door out of respect for the guys watching screamers in the family room.  That was their first sign that the sugar was wearing off.

Their first break from dancing and singing manically came with the need for cool air and water two hours later; covered in sweat and smelling like a gym.  Their mood came down, the way sugar rushes do, until they sat on the bed for a moment that turned into the rest of the night.

Surprise! He Secretely Answered Her Love Letter

One of the couples in my Natural Gifts series of uplifting paranormal romances is Meredith and George Robin.  They are Dana’s parents, the first of my main characters to fall in love in the first book in the series, The Dreaming.

In my latest release, Short Stories From The Dreaming, we learned more about the decades-long romance between Meredith and George.  Today, I’d like to share more of their story.

***

Meredith blew out a frustrated breath and reached for a small box hiding behind a stack of tall, dusty boxes in the back of the forgotten closet.  Really, she thought, once a box is placed in this closet, what it actually means is that we’re hiding the truth from ourselves; that the box should simply be thrown away.

This small box was so old it was falling apart.  She hadn’t seen it in so long, she didn’t even recognize it.

She flipped the lid off, covering her mouth and nose with her hand, and closing her eyes, to keep the dust out of them.

In moments Meredith knew that she had not seen this box before.  It was filled with George’s mementos.  She gently picked up an envelope she hadn’t touched since she mailed it to him from Texas so many years ago.

 

Dear George,

Here I am writing to you after we just spent three hours talking on the phone.  I’m writing to you because I already miss you.  Feeling the way I do, I think it’s time for me to make a promise to you.  Our first promise!

I promise that when I graduate, I will move back to Arizona so that we can be with each other instead of spending all our free time on the phone.

There’s no one I’d rather talk to every day, and every day when something interesting happens to me, I want to turn and tell you about it.

I’m telling you something else I’ve never admitted to you…I think I know what it means to love someone now. It’s a gift I couldn’t have understood before I experienced it with you.

Yours with all of my heart,

Merry

As she read it decades later, Meredith cried big, heartfelt tears. Yes, George had introduced her to love. The sweetest love she had never imagined.

Meredith sifted through the rest of the box. She found a letter, addressed to her old apartment, with a stamp, but no post mark. It was in George’s memento box, which caused her to pause while she considered whether or not she should open the letter.

It’s addressed to me, she reasoned; then gently eased it open.

Dear Merry,

I have a dream, and that dream is that one day you will not only live in the same state with me, but in the same home. I dream that you will share my name, my life, and my children with me. I love you so much, I even dream of what we will fight about. Is there something wrong with me? You’re the expert.

Yours always,

George

Meredith’s fat tears dripped onto her old nightshirt. It was one of George’s t-shirts that she grabbed when he tried to throw it out. His shirts covered her just enough, and they were soft from many washings. She loved how it smelled of him.

When George came home that evening, he was met with his favorite meal, and his lovely bride wearing his favorite lingerie.

He thought to ask her why he was getting all of his favorites tonight, but decided to indulge them instead. As they cuddled into their soft, cozy bed, he thanked her for a wonderful evening.

Meredith reached under her pillow and pulled the unsent letter out for him to see. “I found this when I was cleaning the closet. I wonder why you never mailed it to me.”

George took the yellowed envelope, kissing Meredith’s fingers as he did. Reading the letter for the first time in so many years, he laughed to himself. “I didn’t mail it, Merry, because I was still afraid I’d scare you off. You were as independent then as you are now.

“I had no idea I still had it. Well, what do you think, Mrs. Robin? Would you have been scared off by this, back then?”

“You know me so well, George. Yes, I think I would have. You made the right choice.”

“I must have kept it so you could see it someday. When you were ready.”

“Did I mention that you’re brilliant?” Meredith pulled George close for another kiss, feeling lovely passion build a fire in them again. A fire that burned slow, long, and bright into the early morning hours.

###

I hope you enjoyed this look into Meredith and George’s romance as much as I did.

As always, thank you for reading,

Gina

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Short Stories From The Dreaming Book Trailer!

These are exciting times, and I thank everyone for sharing them with me.  I’m having a wonderful time creating, and sharing what you are creating.

My latest release, Short Stories From The Dreaming, now has a book trailer to go with it. I hope you enjoy it!

Short Stories From The Dreaming (7)

As always, thank you for watching,

Gina

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Short Stories From The Dreaming Playlist

In Short Stories From The Dreaming, the latest release in my Natural Gifts series of uplifting paranormal romances, Jenny and Cat Sing Karaoke while Dana and Joe are out on their first official date.  I hope you enjoy hearing their playlist of the songs they sang and danced to until they dropped.

 

 

As always, thank you for reading and for listening,

 

Gina

 

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It’s Release Day For “Short Stories From The Dreaming”!

Short Stories From The Dreaming (7)Another book has joined the Natural Gifts series.  In this charming book of short stories, we take a deeper look into the lives of some of the characters we met in The DreamingShort Stories From The Dreaming is available now on Amazon.com in Kindle and paperback.

In Jenny and Cat Sing Karaoke, we see what happened at the Carapelli house while Dana and Joe were enjoying their first official date.

How Meredith and George Got Together is how Joe learns the story of how his fiancées parents started their lifelong romance.

The morning after the last day in The Dreaming is When Dana Met Joe’s Family on a holiday camping trip.

If you’re new to my Natural Gifts series of Uplifting Paranormal Romances, I recommend that you read them in this order:

The Dreaming (Natural Gifts, book 1)

Short Stories From The Dreaming (Natural Gifts Novella 1.1)

Desert Sunrise (Natural Gifts, book 2)

Thank you to all who have supported my writing.  It means so much more to me, when I am able to share it with you.

As always, thanks for reading,

Gina

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