Sunday, December 11, 2011

12 days of Christmas Give-A-Way - Free Books and More

Got Books loves playing Santa, and for the next 12 days we'll be giving away books, and a chance to win a Gift Certificate. Stop by, like our page and watch the fun. Each day will bring a new give-away with a few surprises thrown in. After all, what kind of Elf would I be if I didn't throw in a few surprise presents.

Got Books

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Guest Blogger - Vivienne Tuffnell- Interview with Isolbel

Interview with Isobel..

As a writer, I meet some extraordinary people in the course of my work and I get to write their stories for them. Of all the people who have appeared in my books, Isobel Trelawny, whom you may know from Away With The Fairies, has appeared in more tales than anyone else. She's played best supporting actress in several but she's the star of Away With The Fairies and today she's agreed to sit down with me and have a bit of a chat. We've got the coffee, but instead of Isobel's favourite biscuits, (chocolate Hob-Nobs), I've only been able to find some ginger snaps.

Viv: I hope the biscuits aren't too much of a let down.

Isobel (laughing; she does this quite a bit). That's OK, I'm cool with ginger biccies.

Viv: I'm glad to hear that! Anyway, thank you for taking the time to talk with me today.

Isobel: It's a pleasure. Gets me a bit of space in my day, to be honest.

Viv: I gather that can be quite a problem, yes?

Isobel: Well, I know your family is grown up now, but I'm sure you remember how much hard work small children are. Miranda, my oldest, is alarmingly bright and I have to be up to the mark all the time. Luke's much more laid-back about life. And simply finding the mental space to day dream rather than doing things all the time is really hard. I'm often so knackered by the time the kids are in bed, I really don't have the energy to paint, or even think.

Viv: You weren't sure you'd be able to have kids, as I recall?

Isobel: True, which makes me feel guilty about whinging about them when I do. I had a series of miscarriages when Mickey and I first got married. There wasn't an explanation; there was nothing wrong, as far as the quacks could see. I just kept losing them early on. Then some years later, I woke up one morning not only knowing I was pregnant but also being fairly sure this one would go to term.

Viv: Your parents died when you were pregnant with Luke. How did that affect you?

Isobel (laughing again) You know damn well how it affected me! OK, well, I was shocked and then I was angry. I'd not had a good relationship with them, to be honest. I felt (and I had good evidence about this) that they neither of them approved of me and my life choices very much. I was just at the point in my life when I felt it might be possible for them to start approving of me when they killed themselves. I don't think anyone really knows how they truly feel about their parents till they're gone. I certainly didn't. I didn't know how ill they both had been. I'd kept them at arms' length for years, avoiding anything that might bring out any emotional reaction. And when they were gone, suddenly, like that, I couldn't process it. I was heavily pregnant and people kept telling me to relax and not get upset and so on. Oh and “Think of the baby!” So it was a while later before I could start to even think about it all. By then, you see, people assume you've done your grieving and you're tickety-boo. But I wasn't. Far from it. I was pretty much at breaking point and yet, I simply didn't know it. It was killing that deer with the car that was the tipping point that meant I couldn't go on pretending any longer.

Viv: I know. Since the events of Away With The Fairies, you've had some more tough things to deal with, so it does seem a long, and ongoing process.

Isobel: I think what's gone on since then has been long overdue. I've got a streak of wildness that I thought I had under control but it seems not. I've always soared from extremes to extremes but never quite as devastatingly as this.

Viv: Now, your husband Mickey is a clergyman. Looking at you, you seem a long way from any clergy wife of popular but horribly dated sterotypes. (Isobel has henna'd hair, wears ripped and paint smeared jeans, and a rather wonderful amber necklace that matches her eyes. She talks very fast and with a lot of hand gestures; she's a comfortable person to be around but she's not prim and certainly not proper) How much impact does his job have on you?

Isobel: Too much, sometimes. The doorbell and the phone never stop bloody ringing. Oh don't get me wrong, generally, the vast majority of folks aren't a problem, but once in a while, I get people making a big deal of the fact that I don't do anything in church. I don't get involved in groups or lead anything. The fact that I turn up at all is a miracle some times. My best friend Chloe is a very rare sight in any church, and her husband and Mickey trained together.

Viv: I've met Chloe too. Given what she went through at college, I'm not surprised.

Isobel: I feel mildly guilty at times about that. The events of her final year at the vicar factory which ended with her breaking her leg every which way but Sunday were partly down to me. My wild, rebellious streak got out of hand and poor Chloe was the one who got hurt badly. I don't think she's ever blamed me, but I do sometimes blame myself.

Viv: I'm sorry to hear it. I know the story and I think whatever you and Chloe had done, it would have ended badly. Possibly worse. Now, you were able to buy a small place in the country where you could paint. I'm having trouble with my writing and I'd love to spend some time at your cottage. Is it really so spooky as you said?

Isobel: It can be scary, which might be me understating it rather a lot. But it rather depends what baggage you go with. My friend Antony spent some time there a while ago. But apart from stopping his mobile phone working, nothing happened that time. More recently, he stayed, and some deep issues he'd not been able to deal with began to surface. It's one of those places that has a foot in both realms. In the ordinary, everyday world, it's a slightly run down, rather picturesque hideaway. But it's also a place that stands on the edge of the other world, the world of beings that we seldom interact with, and that can be tough to deal with.

Viv: You're talking about the fairies now?

Isobel: (grinning now) I suppose I am!

Viv: You're a pretty pragmatic sort of person from what I know of you, and you're not at all one of these New Age believe-anything women. So, far as I can see, you're not the most likely candidate for getting caught up with the whole concept of fairies. Can you tell me what they're like?

Isobel: I can tell you what they're not. They're not anything like what you see in modern depictions of fairies. There's no glitter or pretty-pretty faces. None of the sparkly magic and so on you see in both kids' books and the New Age ones you referred to. They're.....well, primeval is the only word I can think of. Earthy. They're not what you think and they're not what you expect. I'm not even convinced I understand them myself.

Viv: OK, and that brings me to a hard question. How does any of what you experienced in the cottage square with your faith?

Isobel: That IS a hard question. I'm not sure how to answer it. Churchianity tries to give nice neat answers to life's tough questions and it gets cross and burns people at the stake for refusing to accept those neat answers as all that there is. I don't believe we can know all the answers, but that we have to keep asking the questions anyway, even after we think we know the answers. Certain branches of Churchianity would tell me that my parents are burning in hell for committing suicide, that by that one act after two good, caring lives they damned themselves forever. And yet, I came to see that their deaths were possibly the most noble things they'd ever done.

Viv: Churchianity? I like that term!

Isobel: So do I. The thing is, God is not bound by human rules and that sadly is what many churches have sought to do: bind God by their rules. That's like trying to cage the air, and make it obey your rules. Anyway, enough God-talk.

(She's looking a bit uncomfortable about this, so I think it's time to move the conversation to something else.)

Viv: OK, so tell me about your painting, your art?

Isobel: That's tough. Hmm. Let me think. OK, I don't have your way with words, but I think I paint my stories. You write yours, but I have to paint them. I paint the things I see and I feel inside my head, and I try to use that to tell the greater narrative of life. I can only paint a tiny section of it and hope that it adds to the greater picture somewhere.

Viv: I certainly feel you succeed with it, as much as any of us can. Anyway, can you sum up for us your experiences?

Isobel: You do go for asking the tough questions! I'll try. Hmmm. Perhaps it's best to say that there are more things that we don't know that that we do, and to be open-minded about the world and not get bogged down with dogmatic answers to life's big questions. Oh and love your family with all your strength. That's something too easy to forget, that the love you share with family and friends is not an automatic right that'll be there forever. People die and they don't always give you any warning of it. So tell those you love that you love them. I never got a chance to tell my mum and dad I loved them until they were gone. Don't make my mistake.

Viv: Thank you very much indeed, Isobel. I'd like to wish you luck with your continued exploration of the world through your art.

Isobel: It's a pleasure. Now, do you think we can sneak off for a glass of wine somewhere? I'm parched!

Viv: Sure, but you're buying!

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Lulu paperback (will be on both Amazon sites in time)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Book Launch--A King In A Court of Fools - Larry Enright

My guest today is the energetic, entertaining and all around neat guy--Larry Enright. I asked Larry to stop by on his book launch tour and share a few things you won't find in his author bio. I'm still grinning over that photo. And I love the gang. Thanks for stopping by, Larry, and sharing a cup of coffee with me, as well as some fantastic samples for the readers out there.

Thank you for having a cup of coffee with me, Linda! I try to drink 5 cups a day. Well, I don't have to try very hard, but you get the idea.

The sample and cover shot I've brought is from my new book, A King in a Court of Fools.

I've also brought a photo of the Enright kids taken for Christmas 1957 and made by my parents into a Christmas card. Apparently my folks were way more high tech than I ever gave them credit. The photo has a great story behind it.

I had a wonderful aunt named Grace, who saved everything, and I mean everything, including a bag with photos from our childhood - years worth of photos. I only vaguely remember things from way back then, so it's been a load of fun going through this bag and scanning the old photos. The cover for A King in a Court of Fools was one of those discovered photos - how cool is that! I had originally intended to use a different photo but when I saw this one... How could I resist a kid on a horse? That kid on the cover is me, by the way.

Aunt Grace was the neatest person I know. Not one thing was ever out of place in her apartment and God help you if you picked something up and didn't put it back where it belonged. I think she also had a secret desire to live in Florida. She kept the heat up so high we used to joke about wearing our swim suits when we went to visit her. We could walk to her place, and I remember that we did a lot. Grace worked in a bank as a teller for many years and I remember visiting her there, too. She liked to play cards - Euchre was her favorite game. I remember many things about her, but mostly I remember that she was a wonderful person. As I look back on my growing up, I know I've been blessed and am thankful for it every day.

By the way, I'm the nerdy, Sir Nigel-looking one with the glasses in the photo. As if you couldn't guess.

Well, gotta go, but I hope you have a few minutes to read the sample. I had so much fun writing it that I may just write another.

A King in a Court of Fools

Larry Enright
© 2011 All rights reserved


Stop reading! This is my journal. It’s classified information — top secret. This is your last warning. Stop now or I’ll pound you. I mean it.

By proclamation,

King Thomas of Ryan

1 – Introduction

It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but that’s how I remember the chicken scratch from the cover of Tom’s journal. Tom Ryan — he’s my big brother. He was in sixth grade at the time he started keeping it. He was ten and I was five. Sister Jeanne Lorette made him do it, he said. Tom thought it was punishment for constantly misbehaving in her class. He would say that. That’s how he was. I think she was just trying to help him express himself in ways more productive than his usual tough guy act.

Speaking of tough guy acts, I’ve always imagined that if Tom had the room on that composition book cover, he would have added:

You’re still reading, aren’t you? I warned you, but you couldn’t stop, could you, you nosey-baloney? Well, it’s too late now. And don’t bother wiping your prints off the book. I have my ways. And don’t try to hide either. I’ll find you.

Go ahead, keep reading, but once you know the secrets, it will be the last thing you ever read.

Tom was big on threats. That was his modus operandi. He was under the impression that it was the only way to get anyone to do what he wanted. So he picked on us a lot, but we all knew he was a softy deep down — all talk, no action. You know the type. I honestly don’t remember him doing anything really nasty to anyone, except kids who were picking on us. And I’m sure he felt totally justified in those cases because he was doing it for a good cause.

Of course, I can’t speak to his behavior once he moved on to high school. I saw less and less of him and the gang had, by then, disbanded. But before that, we were all part of his gang and under his protection, whether we wanted to be or not.

Tom’s journal is long gone. It’s unfortunate in a way. It would be much better hearing his story in his own words rather than from my memory of the events that took place that year. It seems like so many years ago. But I imagine like all the other evidence he wanted “lost,” he covered it with Testors cement and burned it when he moved on to the seventh grade. Or maybe he buried it in the side yard. We’ll probably never know. I’m sure he’ll never tell, and I doubt Mom and Dad will be digging up the yard any time soon to find it.

That leaves you with me to piece this together. You have to keep in mind that I was only in first grade at the time, so my reading skills were limited. Simple chapter books were easy, but not sixth grade Tom-ese. He used words I’d never heard of, words I found out later I was better off not knowing.

How did we get our hands on Tom’s secret journal? My other brother, Sam and I found it. We used to sneak into Tom’s bedroom despite the threat of the “Keep Out or Die” sign on his headquarters door. Or maybe it was because of that sign and the inherent danger involved in tempting fate. In any case, we’d play with the toys he never let us touch, we’d look out his window at the Ioli’s house across the street just like he did when he was preparing for a mission, and we’d rifle through his drawers looking for his secret stuff. That’s how we found it. He kept it hidden under a pile of shoes in his closet. It smelled like old shoes, too. That was cool, but the coolest thing? The journal was about us.

Tom was chronicling the adventures of his gang for Sister Jeanne Lorette. Every chance we got, we would sneak in, and Sam would read it to me or I would try reading to him. We had a blast with it. The way Tom described his adventure we couldn’t believe it was about us at first, but there was no doubt after several pages that this story was our adventure as seen through his imagination. And did he ever have an imagination.

So, if you’re willing to accept it on that basis and for what’s it worth, I invite you to enjoy the story of A King in a Court of Fools.

H. Ryan

2 - The Caswell Gang

I should first introduce the Caswell gang to you. That’s what Tom called us. Tom was the oldest of the Ryan kids. He was our leader, a position he said could only be held by him since he was the one who’d started the gang. There was no argument on this point. Or, as he put it, “If you don’t like it, lump it.” Tom was born right after World War II. Mom and Dad had married during that awful time and when it finally ended and everyone went home, Dad got a job as a truck driver; they bought a house and started their family by bringing Tom into the world. Tom always said that they should have stopped there. The rest of us are happy he didn’t have the only vote in that.

Next was Mary. She was a year younger than Tom and probably the most responsible one of us. Just ask her. She was always an expert at details and organization, so Tom appointed her secretary to take minutes and collect the dues. Yes, that’s right — dues. Everyone had to chip in twenty-five cents of their weekly allowance. For those of us who got no allowance, we went without our nickel milk for lunch and drank water from the fountain instead. Believe it or not, the dues were Mary’s idea, not Tom’s. She argued quite logically that without them there would be no parties at Isaly’s, no root beer floats, no cherry Cokes at Meade Drug, and definitely no official Caswell Gang hats. I think you can see where she was coming from, but she was right as usual, and thanks to her and additional funds supplied by Mom, we each had an official Pittsburgh Pirates baseball cap to call our very own.

Then came Sam. Sam started off life very short and didn’t get much bigger for a long, long time. He was barely four feet tall in fourth grade. At first, Tom didn’t have much hope for him as a gang member. But if nothing else, Tom was clever, and he quickly found a good use for Sam. Sam became the mole, the one Tom sent into the tight spots —the storm drains, basement windows, the newly discovered caves; you know the kind of places I’m talking about. Sam was pretty good at it, too. Of course, once he got to high school, Sam shot up like a bean sprout and was never able to do that kind of thing again, but by then, the gang had long since disbanded.

Kate — Katherine that is — was the next in line. She was the family talker and, as Tom said, was so bubbly she could fizz up a flat, day-old Coke. She was also the baby in the family, even after I was born. And for some reason, no one, and I mean no one, not even Tom, dared hurt her. Tom said she was born with a built-in punch-proof, torture-proof, Colgate Gardol shield. But it was just something about her, I guess. Tom appointed her chief negotiator. Anytime another gang invaded our territory, Kate did the talking for us. She always won, or should I say, we never lost. She was our mouthpiece.

Lastly, came me — Harry. I was the youngest. Even Tom couldn’t figure out a use for me right away. I was the tag along of the gang. I was in first grade when he was in sixth, so I was more an in-the-way nuisance than an asset. “Mom made me bring him” was Tom’s patented response to anyone who asked what the little squirt was doing there. But eventually even I assumed a role. I became the official decoy, the one sent to flush out the enemy, the one to take their fire while the rest outflanked them. The others thought I was crazy for doing it, but you’d be surprised just how bad a kid’s aim can be when he’s trying to hit a little pip-squeak like me with a snowball.

The rest of the gang was other sixth graders from the neighborhood. They were Tom’s soldiers. Wayne Brubacher was one. He lived a few streets over from us. I don’t remember him much outside of the gang. Funny how that is. Bobby Fey was another. He was a nice kid, great sense of humor — I liked him — but Tom picked on him more than anyone else. Tom thought he and his jokes were stupid. Then there was Tom Braithwaite, who lived down Caswell Drive from us. There wasn’t anything special about him that I could tell except that Tom liked his sister, and that was enough to get Braithwaite into the gang. We all had to call him “Braithwaite” so he wouldn’t be confused with our fearless leader. Finally, there was Bob Cassidy. He was big, but not just big; he was really, really big. Whatever it was that Sam missed out on, Big Bob got a double dose of it. He was the Friar Tuck of the gang — always smiling and happy, and so big he’d scare the heck out of anyone, even some high school kids. That’s why we called him “Big Bob.”

Our secret hideout was in the woods next to our house. Deep in that woods was a cherry tree, but not just any old cherry tree, the Cherry Tree. That’s all you had to say, “the Cherry Tree,” and we all knew what you meant. It was the tallest tree around and if you climbed to the top, which was a good forty feet up, everything you saw belonged to the Caswell gang. And our claim saying just that was staked by a sign tacked to the base of the tree, warning off any interlopers who happened by. We defended it with our lives. Those were the rules. Our parents never knew we climbed that tree. Otherwise, I’m sure they would have banished us from the woods. But climb it we did, every day. Tom went first and sat on the King’s limb — the highest spot.

Naturally. Next was Mary, then Sam, Kate, Wayne, Bobby Fey, Braithwaite, Big Bob, and lastly, me. I couldn’t even get to the lowest limb, so Big Bob always pulled me up that far before heading higher up himself. I was happy there. Anywhere off the ground made me part of the Caswells.

Everyone in the gang went to Saint Catherine’s. That was a rule, too. No publics were allowed. Tom had a book in which he kept all the rules, but he never let anyone see it. It was one of those little black books guys kept girls’ phone numbers in. He called it the Book of Tom. Sam and I never found it when we were rummaging through his room. It never left his sight.

We assembled at 7:30 every morning on the corner, wearing our school uniforms — dark blue pants, blue shirt, and tie for the boys, and blue plaid skirt and blue blouse for the girls. The boys all wore white socks because it was cool, and the girls wore dark blue knee-highs. Black dress shoes all around. The uniforms each bore the Saint Catherine’s emblem. That got us past the patrol boys and hall monitors — at least that’s what Tom claimed. Everyone carried a lunchbox — the design was optional according to gang rules. Mine was Mickey Mouse. And everyone had a book bag. I didn’t have many books in mine — papers and composition notebooks mostly — but what I did have stashed inside it, and what we all had, was the official gang Pirates cap. Once we were out of sight of our house, Tom put his hand up just like General Custer did for his cavalry to stop, and we all put on our caps. That was a special moment for us every day; that was the moment we became the Caswell Gang.

Hope you enjoyed your visit. Stop in again soon for another treat from some truly unique authors with unique books. Hey, who knows--one of these days I'm actually going to share those hippie pictures of me. Looking for an entertaining way to spend the evening?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Unique Authors with Unique Books - Sarah Barnard with Maple Coffee and Butterscotch, Walnut and Coffee Bread Pudding

Sarah started writing because of a dare and the first draft of the resulting book was written in 30 days.

From that "Dare" book: The Portal Between.
The creature’s head turn slowly to look at each of them in turn. Blue lips slowly curled to reveal sharply pointed teeth in a cruel smile above a short curled goatee beard. Broad nostrils flared and seemed to be savouring the smell of their fear. The deep midnight blue skin was lightly scaled around the eyes and mouth. The scales were heavier on the thickly muscled neck that sloped into broad shoulders. His arms and chest were corded with thick muscle that rippled beneath the scales every time he moved. Naked to the waist he was very obviously male. His legs tapered away from his narrow waist and were encased in tight leather trousers that clung to his powerful legs. Legs that ended in a hoof, a cloven hoof. Tight dark curls adorned the lower legs, pouring from beneath the tight leather trousers at mid calf. The same dark curls wove tightly about his head, and cascaded down his back in waves. His ears rose to a sharp point, each just below a small but sharply pointed horn.

Maple Coffee

•1 cup hot coffee
•1/4 cup maple syrup
•1 cup half & half
•Whipped cream
Heat the milk and syrup together in a saucepan, but do not let it boil. Stir in the coffee. Serve topped with whipped cream.
Serves 2

Butterscotch, Walnut and Coffee Bread Pudding


¾ lb brioche or challah 4 oz walnuts
10 oz butterscotch chips 16 fl oz milk
2 tbspn instant espresso or coffee granules 3 large eggs
5 ½ oz sugar ¼ teaspoon salt
2 tbspn unsalted butter

Discard crust from bread and cut enough bread into ½-inch cubes to measure 6 cups. In a large baking pan, dry bread, uncovered, at room temperature for 12 hours. (Alternatively, dry bread in a 250°F oven for one hour).

Butter a 10-inch pie plate (1½ quarts). Chop walnuts and toast golden. Cool walnuts. In a bowl, toss together bread, half of walnuts, and butterscotch chips and transfer to pie plate. In a saucepan heat one cup of milk until it just begins to boil and remove pan from heat. Add espresso or coffee granules, stirring until dissolved, and stir in remaining cup of milk.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and salt and whisk in espresso mixture until well combined. Pour custard slowly and evenly over bread mixture. Chill pudding, covered, for at least one hour and up to one day. Sprinkle remaining walnuts evenly over pudding. Cut butter into bits and dot pudding with it. Bake pudding in middle of oven until bubbling and golden - about 40 minutes. Serve pudding warm or at room temperature.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Unique Books by Unique Authors - Tim Ellis with Kiele O Kona Coffee Milk Shake and Hawaiian Sunset Cake

A unique fact about Tim Ellis: He's been drinking coffee out of the same Hawaii mug for 27 years - Although he embraces the new, he still likes the old and familiar.

Jacob's Ladder a real treat for only $.99

Cole Randall was much thinner and older than she remembered. The grey in his hair had managed to acquire a foothold, and his face seemed to be a repository for wrinkles of all shapes and sizes. If he’d been wearing a keffiyeh he could have been mistaken for a Bedouin nomad. He had a crescent-shaped scar on the right side of his nose and he’d grown a thick grey moustache that matched his bushy eyebrows...

Kiele O Kona Coffee Milk Shake

Servings: 4 servings


2 Cups Extra Strong Brewed Kiele O Kona Coffee (Black)
2 scopes of Vanilla, Chocolate, or Coffee ice cream
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 tall glasses
Touch of whip cream
Dash of cinnamon or nutmeg (if desired)
Additional Sugar to coat rim of glass.

Moisten the glass rim with water. Place sugar on to paper towel, turn glass upside down and place moisten rim into the sugar. Set aside. In a blender, add coffee, sugar and ice cream. Blend until smooth. Pour into glass and top with whip cream and cinnamon or nutmeg.

Hawaiian Sunset Cake

4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cup milk
1 package (3.4 oz size) vanilla instant pudding
1 package (3 oz size) box orange jello
1 box Orange Supreme Cake Mix
1 can (15 oz size) crushed pineapple, drained
1 package (12 oz. size) frozen coconut
1 carton (8 ounce size) sour cream
2 cups sugar
1 carton (8 oz size) cool whip

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9" cake pans.

Mix all ingredients together. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Pour into the three prepared cake pans. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool layers before adding filling and topping.

Filling: Remove as much liquid as possible from pineapple. Mix all ingredients. Take out 1/2 cup mixture and reserve for topping. Spread remaining filling between layers and on top.

Topping: Mix together reserved filling mixture with 8 oz. Cool Whip. Spread on sides and top of cake. Refrigerate overnite (or even better, make a day ahead).

Monday, July 11, 2011

Unique Authors with Unique Books - Mary Anna Evans with A Night In Florida and Key Lime Cheesecake Bars

Mary Anna is a licensed chemical engineer who has traveled the country assessing the danger of environmental contamination and recommending ways to clean it up. She's here to tell you that there are some scary things out there. Fortunately, there are smart and dedicated people like her protagonist Larabeth McLeod who are working to clean up our messes.

Babykiller was meticulous in all things. It was his defining quality. Attention to detail was the key to longevity in his chosen profession, and Babykiller had been in business a long, long time. Most of his competitors from the early days were dead or in prison, and he couldn't claim responsibility for all their misfortune. No, they had simply chosen a dangerous line of work. He was well on his way to outliving a second generation and he was considering retirement. At least he had been, before the oncologist's verdict. Retirement planning seemed so futile when death was certain...Babykiller had more money than he could have spent in a normal lifetime. He had more than a fair share of cunning. And he had a long list of scores to settle with the world before he took his leave of it. It was time to retire and focus his considerable attentions on something more interesting. Or someone more interesting...


A Night in Florida

3/4 cup coffee
1 1/2 tsp Kahlua
1 1/2 tsp Frangelico
1 1/2 tsp Grand Marnier
1 1/2 tsp Bailey's Irish Cream


Mix the liqueurs together, then add to hot coffee. Top with whipped cream, if desired.

Serves 1

Key Lime Cheesecake Bars
(From Better Homes and Gardens)


6 squares low-fat honey graham crackers, finely crushed (1/2 cup)
2 Tbsp. margarine, melted
1 tsp. sugar
1 4-serving-size pkg. sugar-free low-calorie lime-flavored gelatin
3/4 cup boiling water
1 16-oz. container fat-free cottage cheese (1-3/4 cups)
1 8-oz. pkg. fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 8-oz. container frozen fat-free whipped dessert topping, thawed
Key Limes or limes, cut in wedges (optional)


1.In small bowl combine graham crackers, margarine, and sugar. Press crumb mixture in the bottom of a 2-quart square baking dish. Refrigerate while preparing filling.
2.In large bowl combine gelatin and water. Stir until gelatin is dissolved. Set aside.
3.In blender or food processor combine cottage cheese and cream cheese. Cover and blend or process until smooth, stopping several times to scrape down sides. Whisk 1/2 cup of the cottage cheese mixture into the gelatin mixture. Whisk in remaining cottage cheese mixture until smooth. Fold in whipped dessert topping. Spoon filling over chilled crumb mixture.
4.Cover and refrigerate 8 to 24 hours or until filling is firm. To serve, cut in squares. Top with lime wedges. Makes 9 servings.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Unique Authors with Unique Books -- Lia Fairchild with Mexican Coffee and Coffee Flan

"I married my high school sweetheart. We met in Spanish class when we were 14, became friends, went to the prom, yada yada yada, and next year we celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary."

“I remember now…you never did talk that much in school.” He chuckled.

That was an unsettling statement to respond to. She didn’t want to just start rambling like an idiot to prove him wrong, or keep sitting there like some wallflower. The pressure of the silent seconds ticking in her head caused a sudden, yet casual, “Sor-freakin-ry.”..


Mexican Coffee

1 cup recipe -- double for 2, etcetera

1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground coffee beans
1 cup water
Whipped cream

Place Cinnamon, Sugar & Water Into A Saucepan. Bring To A Boil Slowly, Remove from heat and add coffee. Strain into cup and add whipped cream.

Coffee Flan

1 cup milk
12 oz can evaporated milk
4 eggs
4 teaspoons instant coffee granules dissolved in 4 tablespoons water
¾ cup white sugar
½ cup cream flavoring


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare six flan molds that will hold 8 ounces and are oven-safe. Or you can use a 9 inch round flan mold or an 8 inch square one.

Add the sugar to a pan and heat it over a moderate heat stirring constantly. When it turns to a brown liquid, it is ready. Pour this caramel into the flan molds, tilting them to cover the bottoms.

Mix the milk, evaporated milk, eggs, coffee mixture, and cream flavoring in a bowl and whisk well. Pour this mixture into the flan molds, on top of the caramel layer.

Fill a big roasting pan with water, an inch deep, and then put the molds into it. Cook the coffee flans for an hour, using a knife inserted into the center to test for doneness. If the knife comes out clean, the flans are ready.

Let them cool in the flan molds on a wire rack, then chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours.

Run a knife around the top of the flan mold to loosen it, then invert on to a serving plate.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Unique Books by Unique Authors - Mike Wells with Moroccan Spiced Coffee and Moroccan Orange Cake - Wild Child is currently free in the US

Something unique about me: I'm probably the only author in the world who has thrown 3,000 of his self-published books in the trash and then found out, a year later, that someone had pulled them out of the trash and was selling them on Amazon.

Wild Child is currently free in the US. Grab your copy now!

Before he could respond, she yanked him under the surface. Water roared past his ears and the life jacket was torn from his hand. He hadn’t even had a chance to close his mouth, and he inhaled some water. He coughed a few times, dazed and dimly aware that he was being dragged rapidly towards the bottom of the lake. The water was getting colder, and even though his eyes were squeezed shut, he could tell it was getting darker and darker as well. He opened his mouth to scream, inhaled more water and started coughing again. His ears felt like two ice picks had been shoved into them, and he made an effort to equalize the pressure, but it was changing too fast. He felt their direction shift and realized that they had turned around and were now moving back up towards the surface. No, they were rocketing towards the surface. A few seconds later they both shot out of the water, a good ten feet into the air, and splashed back down...

Moroccan Coffee

2 cups (1/2 liter) milk
2 rounded teaspoons instant coffee (or more, to taste)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon cardamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
3 teaspoons sugar (or to taste)

Heat the milk in a small pot until very hot – frothy bubbles will form around the edges of the pot and a skin will form on the surface of the milk. Watch the milk carefully so that it doesn't boil over.

Discard the skin, and stir in the spices, coffee, and sugar. Strain the spiced coffee into a carafe or cups, and serve.

Moroccan Orange Cake

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
zest from 1 or 2 oranges
1 teaspoon vanilla


Preheat your oven to 350° F (180° C). Grease and flour a tube pan. If using fresh oranges, zest and juice them.

With an electric mixer or by hand, beat together the eggs and sugar until thick. Gradually beat in the oil.

Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt, and then the orange juice. Beat until smooth, and then mix in the zest and vanilla.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan, and bake for about 40 minutes, or until the cake tests done.

Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 7 to 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Unique Authors with Unique Books - Seb Kirby with Danish Coffee and Danish Coffee Cake

I'm a writer interested in new ideas and new writing. As the author of the thriller 'Take No More', I have a vested interest in getting the novel into the hands of as many readers as possible. But I'm also committed to working to increase the level of interest in the great writing emerging on Kindle by the wider writer community.

The body, already starting to bloat, bobbled a little as it was prodded from underwater by something seeking a different kind of sustenance.

A young couple embraced each other and kissed in the moonlight. The boy looked down towards the water, unsure what he was seeing.

He told her to look where his eyes had taken him, pointing with an outstretched finger.

Her expression changed. She had to agree it was a human body, floating in the Arno.

Their romantic moment was forever blemished.

When the police were called they summoned a small boat. In full view of a growing crowd of spectators they removed the body, covered it with a tarpaulin and sped off.

Danish Coffee

A great coffee for those who love the taste of Rum. Goes really well for parties. Simmer for a few hours to build up the flavor of cinnamon and cloves.

8 cups hot coffee
1 cup dark rum
3/4 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
12 cloves, whole


Heat everything through over low heat and simmer for about 2 hours.

Serves 8-10

Danish Coffee Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 cup cold butter, divided
2 tablespoons plus 1 cup water, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs


2 tablespoons butter, softened
1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup chopped walnuts


Place 1 cup flour in a large bowl, cut 1/2 cup butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons water; toss with a fork until mixture forms a ball. Divide into thirds. On a floured surface, roll each portion into a 9-in. x 6-in. rectangle. Place on greased baking sheets; set aside.

In a saucepan, bring salt and remaining butter and water to a boil. Add remaining flour all at once; stir until a smooth ball forms. Remove from the heat; let stand for 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until mixture is smooth and shiny.

Spread over the dough. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

For icing, combine the butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla and enough water to achieve desired consistency. Spread over warm coffee cakes. Sprinkle with walnuts. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 3 coffee cakes (6 servings each).

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Unique Authors with Unique Books - Spiced Coffee and Cinnamon Raisen Coffee Cake with Larry Enright

I've had the opportunity to get to know Larry Enright on Facebook and Twitter, and he is quite unique, as is his debut novel Four Years From Home. If you haven't read my review of the book you can see it here: Review

In 1968, I had a summer job as a valet at the Hilton Hotel in Pittsburgh. The most exciting days were those when a Major League baseball team came to town to play the Pirates because the teams all stayed at the Hilton. I met many famous players that summer and one manager, Grady Hatton. At the time, he was the manager of the Houston Astros. They had a terrible record. He seemed like a nice guy. He tipped well. So I wished him good luck that day. The Pirates trounced them, and Grady Hatton was fired after the game. He was replaced by Harry Walker. Lucky for Harry, we never met.

Four Years From Home is a real bargain for $.99. Have a cup of spiced coffee and slice of Cinnamon Raisen Coffee Cake. Read my review. Read all the reviews. Download a sample, and see if this is the book for you. It is indeed a unique debut novel.

The cold glare of morning pushed rudely through the window and washed away a dream I couldn’t remember. It had been quite a while since I’d remembered my dreams — four or five years easily. When I was growing up, they had always been so vivid and real, usually in Technicolor by Deluxe with Dolby sound, but one day they just stopped. I’d wake up, knowing I had been dreaming but unable to remember anything at all about it. Like now. Hungry, smelly, pasty-mouthed, head still pounding; for an instant I couldn’t decide which of these problems to fix first.

Spiced Coffee


* 4 to 7 whole cloves
* ½ inch cinnamon bark (whole cinnamon)
* 4 to 7 whole green cardamom
* 1 to 3 tsp. Brown sugar (if desired)
* Whipped cream
* Shaved Chocolate and cinnamon sprinkle
* Coffee

Brew a pot of your favorite coffee, a little too strong.

In a small pan, add 1 1/2 cup water, 4-7 cloves, 1/2 inch cinnamon bark broken up, 4-7 whole cardamom -split the tips, and 1-3 teaspoons of sugar. Heat up to boiling point for 3-4 minutes.

Mix the coffee and the spice-mix, pour into cups, top with whipped cream and sprinkle with chocolate and cinnamon.

Add more sugar if desired.

Cinnamon Raisen Coffee Cake


1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1-tsp. salt
2 eggs
5 tbsps. white (distilled) vinegar plus enough Milk to make 1 cup liquid
1/2-cup raisins
1/4 cup melted shortening
1/4 cup chopped nuts

Combine 1/2-cup sugar, butter and cinnamon until well blended; set aside.

Sift flour, baking soda, salt and remaining 1/2-cup sugar into large bowl.

Beat eggs in medium bowl; add vinegar mixture and mix well. Blend in raisins and shortening. Pour egg mixture all at once into flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Spread half of batter in greased 8-inch square baking pan; sprinkle with half of cinnamon mixture. Top with remaining batter; draw knife through batter several times to distribute filling slightly. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon mixture and nuts.

Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees F. Cut into squares and serve warm.