New from Toque & Dagger Publishing – an exciting cookbook filled with recipes perfect for celebrating life. Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire, Book 3 in the Meals to Make Together series, is now available in e-book and paperback.
Liven up 2020 with this new cookbook. The 113 taste tempting recipes come together to celebrate 35 traditional, and far from typical, holidays with meals perfect for two or twenty. These complete menus are guaranteed to excite your taste buds and satisfy your most discriminating diner. Start a new tradition by inviting your family into the kitchen for holiday fun.
Entertain like royalty year-round on a working woman’s budget. No exotic or expensive products to buy. These delicious recipes use ingredients already on your kitchen shelves.
Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire is a fun gift for every holiday celebration, hostesses, bridal showers, or the couple who wants to enjoy quality time together.
I’m curious to see what the menu is for National Mustard Day and to check out ten different potato recipes. I’m a sucker for potatoes.
Today I welcome Donald Hersh, half of the talented husband and wife writing team behind The Turning Stone Chronicles, to share a fun behind-the-scenes story about their writing life.
Now before anyone gets upset, this was approved, reviewed, critiqued, and edited by the “C” of C.D. Hersh, Catherine, who happens to be my wife.
Oh, did I mention she is blonde? There are all kinds of
blonde stories, some good some bad, but you always wonder if they are really
true. Well, the one I’m about to relate is true and Catherine will confirm it,
First, a bit of background. Several years ago while we were
writing Blood Brothers, the second book in our series, The Turning Stone
Chronicles, we made a trip to Cleveland, Ohio for a conference and research.
Our series is based in Cleveland, so we wanted to get a look at the location.
We spent a day driving around the city. Noting where various important
landmarks were and what was close by. All to make the book more authentic.
Now for the story. That year’s Christmas letter, which
Catherine always writes and I proof read, gave me a big laugh. Catherine came
running into my office wanting to know what I found that was so funny. I told
her she had stated we had been to Cleveland three times that year doing
research on our book.
She said, “Yesssss?”
Me, “We didn’t go to Cleveland three times.”
“Oh yes we did,” she replied. “Once we drove all over
downtown, then we went to the restaurant district and then to the shipping area
where we staged the fight scene.”
“We only did the drive all over downtown.” I replied. “The
other time we went via Google street maps in my office.”
“Huh, no we didn’t. I got street names and restaurant names
on the second trip and the third helped solidify what the buildings looked like
in the area for the fight.”
“No, dear,” I calmly replied. “Those other trips we sat in
my office with the dual screens, one facing your side of the desk. We did spend
most of two days, but we didn’t leave the house.”
“But, but,” my blonde wife replied.
“Here, look at our travel log for the year. One trip to
“Oh,” she replied, defeated. “I guess I’m being blonde.”
And that folks is what a glimpse of living with a blonde is
Here is a little about our paranormal series, The Turning Stone Chronicles.
We hope you enjoy it.
Three ancient Celtic families. A magical Bloodstone that enables the wearers to shape shift. A charge to use the stone’s power to benefit mankind, and a battle, that is going on even today, to control the world. Can the Secret Society of shape shifters called the Turning Stone Society heal itself and bring peace to our world? Find out in the series, The Turning Stone Chronicles.
Shape shifter Delaney Ramsey’s daughter is missing, and she
is bound by honor to protect the man she suspects of the deed. To bring him to
justice, she must go against her code, the leader of the secret shifter
society, and the police captain she is falling for.
Thrust back into the world of paranormal huntress, Deputy
Coroner Katrina Romanovski must unravel a string of murders she believes are
vampire attacks. When she discovers the shape shifter she’s in love with is the
murderer, she must reconcile her feelings for him, examine her life of violence
against paranormals, and justify deceiving him in order to bring him to
A desperate call from an ex-military buddy lands a mercenary
soldier in the middle of a double kidnapping, caught in an ancient shape
shifter war, and ensnared between two female shape shifters after the same
thing … him.
C.D. Hersh–Two hearts creating everlasting love stories.
Putting words and stories on paper is second nature to co-authors C.D. Hersh. They’ve written separately since they were teenagers and discovered their unique, collaborative abilities in the mid-90s. As high school sweethearts and husband and wife, Catherine and Donald believe in true love and happily ever after.
The books of their paranormal romance series entitled The Turning Stone Chronicles are available on Amazon. They also have a short Christmas story, Kissing Santa, in a Christmas anthology titled Sizzle in the Snow: Soul Mate Christmas Collection, with seven other authors. Also a standalone novella, Can’t Stop The Music, in a collection with thirteen other authors.
They look forward to many years of co-authoring and book
sales, and a lifetime of happily-ever-after endings on the page and in real
Please welcome Anne back to the blog for her illuminating post about kids playing sports. I am a great admirer of Ms. Montgomery’s opinions when it comes to most topics – especially sports; she advocates for the kids and for the games they play.
Thank you for all you do, Anne!
I’ve spent most of my life in the sports world. I ice skated, skied, and swam as a kid. I was a sports reporter for about 15 years. For the past four decades, I’ve officiated amateur sports: mostly football and baseball, but I’ve called basketball, ice hockey, and soccer games, as well.
So, I feel qualified to take a good hard look at the American sports scene. And what I see isn’t pretty, which is upsetting for someone who’s always believed that participation in sports makes us better people, endowing us with skills needed to be successful in both our personal and professional lives.
I read a book recently that crystalized some of the issues affecting sports in the U.S. In Norwich, a story detailing a tiny Vermont town that has produced an inordinate number of well-adjusted Olympic athletes, New York Times reporter Karen Crouse writes, “(T)he parents of Norwich learned through trial and error the best methods of nourishing happy athletes: by valuing participation and sportsmanship, and stressing fun, community, and self-improvement.”
Anyone who has attended a youth-level sports competition over the last two decades must surely know that idyllic communities like Norwich are about as common as unicorns. The “winning is everything” adage is on display in the behavior of parents, coaches, and fans even when children are in elementary school, a time when sports competition should focus on teamwork, building friendships, and learning to win and lose gracefully.
What has changed? Dollar signs. Parents see pro athletes in an 11-year-old Pop Warner football player or a Little League pitcher. The inevitable leap to specialization and year-round club teams all in the hope they will spawn the next major leaguer is both sad and disturbing.
I have spent the last 19 years teaching in an inner-city high school in Phoenix. Way too many of my students say they want to be professional athletes. I explain they should have a Plan B, since statistics clearly show most will never play organized sports after high school, and that, even if they receive that rare college-sports scholarship, the chance of ever getting a professional tryout is like winning the Powerball lottery.
Why do my students want to be pro athletes? They imagine that multimillion-dollar lifestyle. These kids – like the previously mentioned helicopter parents – seem to care only about the fame and financial riches to be gained. When I point out that pro careers are difficult, generally very short, and that the vast majority of athletes are not banking millions and living in mansions, they scoff.
According to Crouse, children in Norwich are not raised to believe that the raison d’être of sports participation is material gain. “(T)he social tapestry of Norwich represents a triumph of nurture over the natural order of the modern world, which has given us a wealth and acquisition model that favors autonomy over relationships and independence over community.”
The point in encouraging children to participate in sports has never been about money and fame. It’s about teaching them to be happy, well-adjusted adults. Competing in sports teaches discipline, respect for authority, persistence, teamwork, dedication, self-esteem, and, perhaps most importantly, how to cope with failure.
However, forcing a child into a single sport, in order to chase dreams of college scholarships and a pro career, ignores the possibility that they might excel in different areas if given the opportunity, and often produces injuries, burnout, and depression. This strategy differs greatly from that of the parents of Norwich who, “When in doubt, erred on the side of giving their children freedom. They were determined not to be like the parents who control their children’s choices for reasons having to do with their own egos or anxieties.”
Young people need to have the opportunity to try new things, which is the first step in determining what they might like to do in the future. While I encourage my students to compete in sports, I would be remiss if I stopped there. I want them to take art and music and drama and woodworking and culinary arts and any other subject that stirs their imagination. These experiences will help guide their decisions for the future, when they must consider what they like, what they’re good at, and what someone will pay them to do.
I am sometimes reminded of a moment I witnessed while refereeing a high school football game. At halftime, the marching band took the field. And there, in the horn section, was a football player — sans helmet and shoulder pads — playing the trumpet. I wanted to applaud him for branching out, and congratulate his coach for granting the player the opportunity to pursue music.
I wish I could say sights like this are common, but sadly they’re not. I only mention it because I think the people of Norwich would have been proud.
As a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper descends into the throes of mental illness, he latches onto a lonely pregnant teenager and a group of Pentecostal zealots – the Children of Light – who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon. When the Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst in a deadly act of sabotage, their lives are thrown into turmoil. As the search for the saboteurs heats up, the authorities uncover more questions than answers. And then the girl vanishes. As the sniper struggles to maintain his sanity, a child is about to be born in the wilderness.
I’m not usually pushy about book recommendations, but today I will be, because if you haven’t read this treasure of a book from 1997, you really, really, should.
My review is of the 1997 print version.
Reading this book bathed me in good feelings, and the awareness that Morrie Schwartz and I have solid life principles in common. What mattered most to Morrie in life are the same things that matter most to me – people, relationships, contentedness, and joy.
Tuesdays With Morrie was written by Morrie Schwartz’s student, Mitch Albom. Albom’s intent was to raise money to help with Schwartz’s medical bills. We learn this in the afterward, after we’ve been thoroughly steeped in how much Albom and others benefited from knowing Morrie Schwartz.
Morrie Schwartz taught far more than the classes listed on student’s schedules. He and other professors of their time used their position to better their student’s lives and inspired them to be good humans. He taught them the value of silence and illuminated how much we can learn from it.
If I’m even a percentage of the teacher he was, it’s in part because I read this book.
Click here to visit the books page of Mitch Albom’s website. He has interesting goodies over there.
This is an iconic book, so I’m betting at least some of you have read it. If so, please share your thoughts about it with me.
Cold weather, hot homemade soup, and a great read. We’re doing it Chris Pavesic style. Recipe included.
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes
3 cans (14-1/2 oz. each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 cups water
4 medium carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper or to taste
Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon margarine
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon dried parsley for parsley dumplings (optional)
Large nonstick skillet/Dutch oven
1. In a large nonstick skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, brown chicken. Add the broth, water, vegetables and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, for dumplings, mix the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt (add dried parsley if desired) in a small bowl. With a fork cut in the margarine to resemble coarse crumbs. Mix in the milk. Set aside.
3. Bring soup to a boil. Drop dumplings by tablespoonfuls into the boiling soup. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in dumplings comes out clean (do not lift cover while simmering).
Chris Pavesic continues the amazing story of Cami Malifux with Book 2 of the Revelation Chronicles.
Escape from a world of darkness into a magical realm of limitless adventure.
In Starter Zone Cami kept herself and her younger sister Alby alive in a post-apocalyptic world, facing starvation, violence, and death on a daily basis. Caught by the military and forcefully inscribed, Cami manages to scam the system and they enter the Realms, a Virtual Reality world, as privileged Players rather than slaves. They experience a world of safety, plenty, and magical adventure.
In the Traveler’s Zone magic, combat, gear scores, quests, and dungeons are all puzzles to be solved as Cami continues her epic quest to navigate the Realms and build a better life for her family. But an intrusion from her old life threatens everything she has gained and imperils the entire virtual world.
Lieutenant Eve Dallas fights to save the innocent—and serve justice to the guilty—on the streets of New York in Connections in Death, the gritty and gripping new In Death novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author J.D. Robb.
Homicide cop Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband, Roarke, are building a brand-new school and youth shelter. They know that the hard life can lead kids toward dangerous crossroads—and with this new project, they hope to nudge a few more of them onto the right path. For expert help, they hire child psychologist Dr. Rochelle Pickering—whose own brother pulled himself out of a spiral of addiction and crime with Rochelle’s support.
Lyle is living with Rochelle while he gets his life together, and he’s thrilled to hear about his sister’s new job offer. But within hours, triumph is followed by tragedy. Returning from a celebratory dinner with her boyfriend, she finds Lyle dead with a syringe in his lap, and Eve’s investigation confirms that this wasn’t just another OD. After all his work to get clean, Lyle’s been pumped full of poison—and a neighbor with a peephole reports seeing a scruffy, pink-haired girl fleeing the scene.
Now Eve and Roarke must venture into the gang territory where Lyle used to run, and the ugly underground world of tattoo parlors and strip joints where everyone has taken a wrong turn somewhere. They both believe in giving people a second chance. Maybe even a third or fourth. But as far as they’re concerned, whoever gave the order on Lyle Pickering’s murder has run out of chances…
Starting a new In Death book always feels like going home to visit family you see twice a year – because that has been the release schedule for the past few years and when you’ve been reading the same series for a decade a new release is like a family reunion.
I read the new release as soon as I can, which is usually through the library. I put in a request for the ebook and the hardcover on release day and wait to see which one comes up first. This year it has been the hardcover. If I was set on reading the ebook version through the library I would wait another four or five months.
This review is of the hardcover version.
I classify In Death books as being either character driven or case driven. Connections In Death is case driven. There is a healthy amount of main character Eve Dallas’ drool-worthy husband, Roarke, in the story, and a gathering where we get to party with most of the series beloved characters.
If you’re new to the series I think you should know that all of the books have graphic scenes in them, either in the bedroom, at the crime scene, in the morgue, and at times in the field. You should also know that the series takes place in the future and the technology is part of the charm.
The pacing of this book was addictive and before I knew it I finished the book in a few sittings. This was our bright-eyed Dallas, tugging on every lead, seeing information no one else could. That’s why she’s the lieutenant.
The action sequences are easy to follow and we had a few in this one. There’s solid motive for Pickering’s staged OD, a satisfying investigation, and a perfect conclusion. If there’s one trick I think Robb missed, it would be that I would liked to have seen Dr. Rochelle Pickering after the case is solved. It’s a tiny thing compared to how the city they live in is enriched by what Eve Dallas and her team accomplished in the course of the investigation.
Connections In Death gets a solid five out of five stars from me. If you like futuristic homicide mysteries, give this series a try. Then we can talk about who we think the candy thief is. I have a couple of theories, like that it has to be someone in homicide.