Southern Festival of Books

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I will be at the Griffyn Ink booth at this year’s Southern Festival of Books signing copies of the Twelve Strippers of Christmas, along with the other Griffyn Ink authors! I won’t be signing the other authors, but they will be there as well. :)

Southern Festival of Books is free to the public. 

Date and times:
Friday, October 13: 12:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 14: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 15: 12:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Location: War Memorial Plaza and Main Public Library, Nashville, Tennessee

Come by and see us.

The 2017 Sex Scene Championships are underway!

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Round 1 Day2:
Noell Mosco with a scene from Loud

vs

Me! with a scene from More Than Want from the Twelve Strippers of Christmas

Twelve Strippers of Christmas coming October 2017

VOTE HERE!--voting for this round is open for another 30 hours. (voting closes on Oct 3 11:59pm)

Tell your friends.

And Jody Wallace is up today against Sharon Kay Novels, check em out!
It’s hot stuff!

Sex Scene Championships

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Scorching Book Reviews is bringing back the Sex Scene Championships for 2017!

I’m going head to head with Noell Mosco on October 2! I’m a total nube going up against an established author. I’m going to need some help. Tell your friends!

My scene is from More Than Want from the Twelve Strippers of Christmas!

Check it out! VOTE!

Voting for each bracket is available for 48 hours!

I’ll post updates with voting links here, as well as on Twitter and Facebook!

National Literacy Month

national literacy month

September is National Literacy Month
and today, September 8,  is International Literacy Day

As readers of romance novels and other genres, we contribute to the literacy of the world. But not everyone can read in their native languages.

“According to UNESCO, about 774 million adults lack the minimum literacy skills. One in five adults is still not literate and two-thirds of them are women. About 75 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out. However, literacy is also a cause for celebration on the day because there are nearly four billion literate people in the world.” from https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/un/international-literacy-day

We tend to focus on reading to children as a means of improving literacy, and I would like to continue to support the efforts of those who do support children’s programs. My own children regularly volunteer for a local literacy program that helps at risk youth in lower grades get up to reading level.

But there are also adults out there in the United States (where I live) who cannot read. Somewhere somehow they slipped through the education cracks.

In the United States the literacy rate among adults showed no significant change between 2003 and 2013 with 14 percent of adults demonstrating a “below basic” reading level. 19 percent of all high school graduates in this country cannot read. We are looking at around 31 million Americans who cannot read.  (from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/06/illiteracy-rate_n_3880355.html)

If you want to share your love of reading with others, please consider volunteering to help an Adult Literacy Program near you. The National Literacy Directory  is an online resource to not only help learners find programs, but also to help volunteers find programs.

And as the child of a librarian, I cannot recommend checking in with your local library enough to find out what programs they have available.

Please consider donating to literacy near you. You can do this by donating time, money, books, or any combination of these.

Bad attempt at book reviews

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I recently attended a program on how to write a quality book review. I thought this is great, the more I get into writing and the more authors I meet and know the more I want to support them and help. This typically means read their book and leave and Amazon review.

Let’s be honest, my reviews kind of suck. I typically mention something random about the characters who—because I read romance A LOT—tend to need to either learn better communication skills, or need a clue fairy. Their do-they don’t-they relationships can make me batty, and that’s what typically comes across in a review. I might drop some spoilers, unintentionally.

What I don’t do its say this book was enjoyable because…..
I realized I only mention pacing when I admit to binge reading.

(have you noticed something yet?) I…I…I…I…

…and reviews aren’t supposed to be about me, but about the book.

When reviewing a book, it always comes down to my interaction with the story.

Ok, so the decision has been made: learn how to properly write a review and start adding book reviews to the blog.

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Hahahahahahahahahahah

WRONG

I honestly tried, really I did. But I fail so hard at pulling how I interacted with the book out of the process.

The plan was to run a practice review on one of two series I’ve been rereading lately.

So I’m thinking in my brain how I’m going to pull this off as I’m listening to the stories (I love audio books BTW), and I hit a wall. The character mentions not liking redheads. I take a personal affront to this. He mentions the Aventine District and Palatine Hill and I start thinking if these books influenced my subconscious over the Legantum characters and such. Ooh I really need to do more Rome research.

BAM I’m in the middle of it again.

And since I have no intention of turning this into a review site, I have learned that me composing quality reviews is probably not gonna happen.

But here go my reviews (cause I had this slot scheduled for book reviews):

The Didius Falco mysteries by Lindsey Davis

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The interactions between Marcus and Helena are delightful. The pacing of the books keep me interested. I can’t believe there are 20 books in this series already. I need to reread them all. Hey, I didn’t know Marsha was a Roman name.

If you aren’t familiar with these books, they are mysteries with a romantic element. They take place in ancient Rome and are a blast. Davis provides enough detail for you to get a real sense of life in the ancient Roman Empire–not so much that you feel the need to bathe immediately, but enough for you to realize modern TP and non-lead pipes are wonderful inventions.

https://www.amazon.com/Marcus-Didius-Falco-Books-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00URVJCZ6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1492809363&sr=8-1&keywords=marcus+didius+falco+mystery+series


 

The Alpha and Omega series by Patricia Briggs

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Yeah, Charles is yum, but damn Anna can put up with some serious shit. Only Patricia Briggs can make such a stoic scary man be so hot. I swear without Anna, Charles would just be pretty to look at and dangerous to touch, and a complete jackass to be around. I forgot once I got James McAvoy in my head as the model for Bran it was hard to focus on Charles as the book-boyfriend anymore.

Sigh

Werewolves, double sigh.

Oh and don’t forget to start the series with the short/novella Alpha and Omega from the On the Prowl collection!

https://www.amazon.com/Alpha-Omega-4-Books/dp/B00VZIE2KA/ref=sr_1_16?ie=UTF8&qid=1492809254&sr=8-16&keywords=alpha+and+omega+patricia+briggs


 

See I’m really no good at it.

No affiliate links or anything, I just think you should have links to the books, cause they are brilliant and you should read them.

Authors in Bloom “hop on in”

Welcome to this stop on the 6th Annual
Authors in Bloom blog hop!

DianneVenetta_AIB-Logo_2015-250x250
I’m an about-to-be self-published romance author.
I have a holiday collection of short stories scheduled for October and am working out the logistics for the release of Protective, the first in the Legatum series– a new wolf-shifter series.

I write steamy hot paranormal and contemporary romance. My heroes are always heroic, and my damsels are never in distress–they get themselves out usually.

I hope you take a few minutes to check out some of my other posts, and author interviews.


The blog hop participation list is at the end of this post


The giveaway participation info is at the end, after the recipe.


My gardening tip:

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Hire someone. I have a black thumb, if you want to kill a plant, give it to me. It’s not because I don’t like plants, I would love to be able to grow and cultivate plants, I’m just really bad at it.


My recipe:

withegg

Rutabaga and Turkey Bacon Hash

This recipe is Paleo friendly, and gluten free. I have no idea if it would work with regular bacon since I am allergic to pork I’ve never tried. I can’t see why it wouldn’t work.

There is a lot of chopping involved, I make this in advance and heat it up on the stove (not a microwave). I like to serve this with poached eggs.

Ingredients:

ingredients

  • small 4” rutabaga
  • 1 large or two medium yellow onions
  • olive oil
  • package turkey bacon
  • 2 to 3 apples, that are good to cook with– I typically use Golden Delicious, Honeycrisps, or Gala because that’s what we typically have on the counter at home
  • Salt, pepper, garlic to taste (I use pre-minced garlic in oil, garlic powder would also work)

rutabaga

Peel and dice rutabaga- you want your dice sizes on the small side
(1/4 to 1/2 inch)

In a large pan, boil diced rutabaga in about an inch of water (or slightly more) until water is gone

applesbacononions

Dice the rest of the ingredients while rutabaga cooks- you want your dice sizes small (1/4inch)

When the water is all cooked off, turn burner temp to medium, drizzle about a tablespoon or 2 of olive oil over the rutabaga, and stir, making sure the oil gets onto the pan.

noapples

Add the diced onions and the diced bacon.

Add salt, pepper, and garlic to taste.

Stir so ingredients don’t stick to pan.

Cook until onions are translucent and bacon is almost crispy.

Add apples last, turn heat down to simmer. Continue to cook until apples are soft, but not mushy.

HASHDONE


Giveaway fun!

This stop is part of the big giveaway promotion hosted by Dianne Venetta. The giveaway portion is open from March 27 until April 5.
I am giving away a $10 Amazon gift card (USD). Since this is delivered via email, it’s available internationally.

To enter, please follow me on one of these:

Remember to return to the blog hop main page and enter to win the big prize by April 7!!


Participating Blogs!

The Twelve Dates of Christmas: the twelfth date

12

My True Love

I sat, despondent, on the couch, staring at the credits scrolling past on my TV. I did not have it in me to get up and change the DVD. I looked at the remote, hit the menu button, then started the movie again. Chris had gone into work, leaving me alone. I wanted to take another pain pill, but I couldn’t, not for three more hours.

I hurt, and I was alone.

Someone knocked on my door.

“Hold on, I’m coming, but I’m moving slow,” I called out.

It felt like an ice age to get me from the couch to the door. The pain management medicine skewed my perspective. For all, I know I actually sped over to the door.

I peeked to see Pat standing outside my door. I unbolted the chain and opened the door.

“Oh honey,” Pat said as soon as she saw me. She stood there with her arms full of grocery bags. What is it with the urge to feed people when they get sick or hurt?

She put her bags down and folded me into a large warm mommy hug. I needed a mommy hug, it was the best thing ever. So, of course, I started crying.

She eased me back onto the couch, pulled her bags in from the landing, and closed the door before joining me.

“What’s wrong?” She eased my head onto her shoulder.

I gulped and kept crying. “I just miss my mom, and I hurt. And I’m alone.”

“Sweetie, that’s why I’m here.” She patted soothing strokes along my hair and back.

“What?” I asked sniffing back my tears. I honestly did not expect to see Pat. I pretty much figured she didn’t like me and had just been playing nice since I was a surprise guest in her house.

“I’m here because my son is in love with you, whether he’s figured it out or not, and he is worried about you. You don’t need to be alone right now. I came figuring you could use a mom seeing how yours is across the country.”

I rested against her shoulder, just taking comfort that someone was here to mother me.

We sat like that for several minutes before I adjusted and let Pat get up.

“I brought all the ingredients for the butterscotch bars, and Chris said something about you liking bacon cheddar mashed potatoes. So I brought bacon, and cheese, and potatoes. You can tell me how to make that for dinner.” She carried the bags of food into the kitchen and began pulling things out onto the counter, and away into the refrigerator. “It looks like you are well stocked.”

“Yeah, my coworkers pulled out the stops and brought over all kinds of stuff. Which is good, because I didn’t have any food.”

Pat made herself familiar with my kitchen and began baking butterscotch bars.

I picked up my phone and texted Chris to let him know his mom had shown up.

He called me back, I picked up on the first ring.

“Hi.” I may have been overly enthusiastic to hear his voice.

“Hi, yourself. So mom’s there? Good, she said she would drive down.”

“I was definitely surprised, but I’m glad she’s here. She’s already baking. I think there is enough food in this apartment that I can safely eat myself into a food coma for the duration of my recovery.”

“You should rest, take a nap if you need to. You’ve got mom in case you need help with anything.”

I nodded and yawned, the nap suggestion was already working on my fuzzy brain.

“Are you coming by tonight?” I asked.

“I have to swing by my place to pick up some more clothes after work, but after that, I’ll come straight home.” He said.

“I like that. I like that a lot. I’ll see you later.”

“Call me if you need anything at all okay?”

“I will,” I said then I hung up the phone. I got to my feet and shuffled into the kitchen. “I’m going to go take a nap. You’ll be okay if I go pass out?” I asked Pat.

“You go rest. I’ll be fine. I can figure out how the TV works if I need anything I’ll just call Chris.”

I nodded and made my way back to my bedroom.

When I woke up the apartment smelled heavenly.

“I made butterscotch bars,” Pat announced as I shuffled into the living room.

“I can smell.” I closed my eyes and thought of Chris. I would forever associate this with him. “Can I have one? Or ten?”

Pat chuckled, she handed me two after I made myself comfortable on the couch.

“So what’s the plan?” I asked between bites.

“No plan, you don’t need anyone to cook. So I’m here for company, and to make sure you don’t need anything. A little later, I’ll let you talk me through those fancy mashed potatoes.”

I smiled as Pat took a seat. “I’m glad you’re here. I was really feeling sorry for myself after Chris left for work this morning. I didn’t want to be alone all of a sudden.”

“Good thing he called home, and that I have a flexible schedule. Grace is at work, and Mike is in school, so here I am.” She shifted in her chair. “Nat, I need to apologize again for what you overheard.”

I shook my head. She had apologized several times before we left. “You were expressing concern for your son. Nothing you said was really a personal attack. Just pointing out I am different. I’ve had time to think about it. I’ve met his ex, so I think Mike got it in his mind that women Chris like all look a certain way, and that Chris is a certain way. However old Mike was when that impression was made, it had been that way for a while. So in Mike’s head that’s the way it should be. Chris has changed along the way. Chris has been different for a while, even before I showed up on the scene. But with me being so much more different than his last girlfriend, it just pushed Mike’s buttons, and his reality is shifting, on top of that he’s sixteen, so his reality is already skewed.”

“You are being very understanding.”

“I think it’s the drugs talking. I’m not typically this insightful. He was still rude, and I’m not going to give him a pass on that. I just think I understand where it’s coming from.”

None of our other conversations for the rest of the afternoon were that deep.

Pat fried bacon, and I sat in the kitchen grating cheese. She had already boiled and mashed the potatoes, we were now preparing the goodies to be mixed in before it was put back into the oven to bake. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I typically use the frozen pucks of mashed potatoes or instant potato flakes. This would taste better with real potatoes anyway.

Chris walked in the door much earlier than I expected. He came straight to me and gently wrapped his arms around me before kissing me. He stroked the hair back from my face, “how are you feeling?”

“I’ve been good today. Your mom has been really helpful.”

He looked up, still holding me, “hi mom. Thanks for coming.” He released me, then gave his mom a quick hug.

I saw the look on her face. It was a mixture of pride and a touch of sadness. The pride that her son had found a woman to love and take care of, sadness that she had lost him to me. And that’s when I knew for certain, that on the twelfth day of Christmas I had found my true love. 

The End

catch up on the eleventh date.

©2016 Lulu M Sylvian. The Twelve Dates of Christmas

 

The Twelve Dates of Christmas: the eleventh date

11th

Piping Hot Tamales

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my hot date gave to me some pain pills, and some cute gay men brought me tamales.

I groaned and tried to move. Everything hurt.

“Shh, its okay.” Chris wrapped around me. I relaxed into his warmth.

“I need to pee,” I said.

Chris was up and helping me to the bathroom door, then left me on my own.

I wasn’t so bad off I needed help going to the bathroom, and our relationship wasn’t to that point yet. At least I didn’t think so. I carefully made my way back to bed.

Chris followed me with a glass of water and some pills. “Here, you can have more pain meds.”

I swallowed the pills and handed him back the glass. I noticed the clock across the room. “Shouldn’t you be at work?” I felt groggy with sleep and groggy from the muscle relaxers. “I need to call in. It’s so late.”

“I’ve already called in for both of us. They know you won’t be in all week. I even sent over a picture of the orders from the doctor.”

“Thank you.” I whimpered.

“I’m taking the day to take care of you, and to deal with my car. Insurance is supposed to get me a rental today or tomorrow.”

“You can borrow mine if you need to run errands. I’m not driving anytime soon.” I volunteered.

“Thanks, I will this afternoon. Right now it’s be lazy in bed and hold you.” He indicated I needed to lay back down so he could curl up around me again.

I moved slowly and carefully back into him. He wrapped his arms around me and nuzzled his nose into my hair by my ear.

“I’m staying with you today because I need this. I was scared last night, scared I had let you get hurt. Scared because they made me deal with my stupid car when they took you away to the hospital. I had to tell everyone we were engaged just so they would let me into the ER with you.”

My stomach did a little flip at the idea.

“I’m falling in love with you Nat. Last night made that clear to me.”

I tried to roll over to look at him. Instead, I gasped with pain and tensed up.

Chris sat up. “What? Are you okay?”

“Come over here so I can see your face,” I said through winces of pain.

The black eye he got had really bloomed over night. He looked worried and beat. I lay my hand against his cheek. “That’s the most wonderful thing I have ever heard. All I wanted was you to be near me last night. I wasn’t scared when you were around.” I ran my fingers through the thick hair on top of his head. “I love butterscotch. Be my butterscotch?”

He gave me the sweetest, most toe-curling kiss. It could have progressed to something hotter, and more intense but Chris kept it in check. I’m sure my flinching with pain in the middle of it put a damper on things.

We spent the day just hanging out in quiet company, watching movies on TV.

Chris put me down for a nap before he left to run some errands and get a few things from his place.

I felt muzzy headed after my nap. Chris came back and changed the DVD for me. It was nice to have him around, nice to have someone bend over for things I currently could not manage on my own. And nice to have around simply because I liked him.

“What do you want for dinner?” Chris asked as he rummaged through my cupboards. I didn’t have too much food on hand since I hadn’t gone shopping over the weekend like I typically did.

“You gonna cook?” I asked.

“If I can find something to make I will.”

“You cook?” I asked jokingly.

“You’ve met my parents. Of course, I cook. I can do more than run a grill too.”

I leaned against the wall and watched as Chris started to pull food out.

We both turned when there was a knock on the door. I stayed put as Chris went to open it.

“Boyfriend you look beat up. How’s my girl?” Blake asked as he swept in, followed by the good looking man I saw him at the movies with. Both of them were laden down with groceries and aluminum foil pans.

The food brigade had landed. The department I was in at work had a support system, whenever someone was sick and going to miss work for more than a few day, or was injured, or had someone at home in bad shape, we fed them. Those of us who lived close enough went home for lunch and cooked. Others hit the delis and grocery stores.

“Natalie this is Scott. Scott, Chris, Natalie.” Blake introduced us as he unpacked a variety of homemade meals and deli contributions from pre-sliced fruit and a rotisserie chicken to several casseroles and bags of chips. They also brought bottles of soda, and a six pack of beer.

“Oh wow, Jane and Lupa really outdid themselves,” I said eyeing the tamales and enchilada casserole. My standard contribution of bacon cheddar mashed potatoes was missing, then again this time I was the recipient of all the food.

“You probably have a few holiday leftovers here from the look of it,” Chris said as he started putting stuff away in the fridge.

“Even better,” I said. “I don’t have to worry about cooking or anything for at least a week.”

“How long you out?” Blake asked. “I thought someone said you broke your back.”

“No, I sprained it. Nothing is broken, it just hurts like a son-of-a-bitch. I should only be out this week.” I explained.

“Well good, we need you.” Blake kissed me on both cheeks, then turned to Chris. “You take care of my girl, okay.”

“I will,” Chris said with a grin.

And then Blake swept right on out, dragging Scott in his wake.

“I didn’t realize you and Blake were that close,” Chris said.

“That makes two of us,” I said. I eased my way into the kitchen. “Now that we have all this food, what’s for dinner?”

 

catch up with the tenth date

The story continues on Jan 5, the twelfth date.

©2016 Lulu M Sylvian. The Twelve Dates of Christmas