Thanks for joining me on Delilah Devlin’s blog today, and a huge shout out to her as well. I hope everyone is excited for the holidays. I know I am. I plan on making great memories. So what if my kids are twenty, eighteen, and fourteen? We’ll still be making gingerbread houses, decking the halls, watching all the animated Christmas movies, and enjoying our favorite homemade goodies.
While I was writing Triple Naughty Christmas, I incorporated a few of my family’s holiday rituals here and there, including the all-important sausage balls. I know: Everyone makes them, but mine are the best. I cook up a bunch of those tasty hors d’oeuvres every year and take a batch of them to every family gathering I attend. Everyone raves and no one understands why their sausage balls don’t come out as well. Friends and relatives always ask for the recipe which I graciously provide with a smile on my face.
Now I won’t bore you with my sausage ball recipe. It’s the same one you’ll find on any number of websites, and having it means nothing. What I will do you, is fill you lovelies in on all my secrets (Yay for pen names—can’t let my in-laws know I’ve been holding out on them.). The first trick is simple enough: milk. The high calcium drink isn’t listed in the ingredients for sausage balls in my cookbook, and it’s usually omitted in most, but you need it. If you try to mix two or more cups of baking mix in with your sausage and cheese without a few splashes, you are going to have some hard, dry balls (yuck!) Don’t ask how much to add. It depends on how much baking mix you use. I’ve seen recipes call for anywhere between one cup (amateurs) to three and a half to pair with their shredded cheese and one pound of sausage (What are they thinking?) Trust me. Two cups are all you need. The consistency will tell you if you’ve used the right amount of milk or if you need to add more. If you manage to put too much milk in, well, bless your heart. You can salvage by adding some more baking mix but all bets are off on you reaching holiday pork nirvana.
Rule two: Use your hands (Wash them well first, of course). I’ve seen people use mixers or expensive food processors so they don’t have to touch raw pork. Good luck with that—it’s not going to taste right unless you get your hands in there and mix it to perfection. This holiday treat is a tradition and a labor of love. You have to finesse it with your own fingers before rolling those puppies into pretty balls.
Now if you follow rules one and two, you will have some yummy sausage balls, but they still likely won’t be as good as mine because rule three is key. Buy premium sausage! I recommend the hot Bass Farms if it is available in your area. If not, you will have to labor with trial and error until you find what’s best and freshest in your neck of the woods. Of course, what’s really important is that you get your loved ones in the kitchen with you to knead your mixture and roll your balls. Have fun and Bon appetite!
Two husbands, four kids, a gaggle of nosy neighbors, a car accident, the best present ever, a naughty party, and a mother-in-law expected for Christmas.
Navigating the Yuletide season can be a challenge for anyone but after hosting their family Christmas celebration for more than fifteen years, forty-something mom, Trisha Marks-Davidson, believes she’s conquered Santa and tamed all of his reindeer. Anything but ordinary, Trisha’s family of seven consists of herself, her two husbands, Tommy and Ken, and their four kids. Despite their unusual situation, she’s cultivated a system for a fun-filled holiday packed with their own special traditions.
Trisha, Tommy, and Ken are pleased with the quiet, comfortable life they’ve built together but are disturbed to learn the novelty of their three-way union still hasn’t worn off for some members of their community even after nearly two decades. A last-minute decision to attend a neighborhood Christmas party could be the trio’s undoing. The opportunity to set the record straight is there for the taking but actions speak louder than words and temptation is all around them.
Glancing at the mirror, Ken caught the reflection of a slight movement in the shadows just outside the door and sighed. “Just how long have you been skulking in the darkness?”
“Long enough.” Trisha stepped into the room with them. Bathed in the bathroom’s bright lights, her platinum highlights shimmered within her long, sandy-colored locks. Ken glanced at Thomas, noting the way he eyed Trisha’s tanned, toned and completely nude form. Ken couldn’t blame him. Even after all these years, she was an impressive beauty and Thomas hadn’t seen her for a few days. A primal yearning stirred within Ken as he watched his husband’s gaze eyes linger over Trisha’s breasts and taut nipples before breezing over her tummy to her bikini area’s neatly trimmed triangle of curls. Ken stepped closer to her, slipping his arms around her waist and pressing a smooch against her soft, warm lips. She smelled of sex and cinnamon-scented body lotion. “Why didn’t you join us?”
“You two seemed to be doing just fine on your own, and I didn’t want to interrupt your anniversary sex.” Ken ran his hands over the small of Trisha’s back before cupping her naked ass. She was in pretty good shape by any standards, but for a forty-four-year-old, mother of four, she was a goddess.
“I can’t believe you were hiding in the shadows like a stalker.” Thomas wagged his head at her.
“Well…I was awoken by the unmistakable sound of my husband receiving a blow job, and by the time I was able to force myself out of bed to check things out, you two were intensely focused on each other. Honestly, I couldn’t pry my eyes away. It was so hot!”
Ken smacked her butt playfully, eliciting a tiny squeal, “Naughty peeper. Maybe I should grab the hairbrush and punish you.” Trisha’s face lit up. She enjoyed playing the naughty college co-ed to his strict professor, and Ken loved the way her ass jiggled when he spanked her. Sadly, Thomas was never interested in playing those games with them. Ken’s cock twitched a hair at the mere thought of putting the big, sexy blond man over his knee.
“I already came, but if we have any more of those little, blue pills, I’ll be glad to give you equal time, Trish.” Thomas smiled at her from his partially slumped-over position on the side of the tub. Ken smirked, secretly proud to have drained the poor guy dry.
Leaning against the counter with her legs crossed at the ankles, Trisha shook her head, a smirk playing on her pouty lips. “I’m good. Why do you think Ken and I were naked when you got home?”
Other books in the Triple Passion Play series: Can love between three survive?
This is what I get on a lucky day when I speak with my relatives in northern Italy (45F as I’m writing this post, on November 18), or friends in the northern US and I tell them we’re going through a cold front, and I’m cold.
For those of you who don’t know me, I happily live in south Florida. Yes, I realize it’s often warm. Yes, I know I should not complain, and I’m not.
But what the hell, what people from colder places seem to forget is that while a cold front here would last 2 or 3 days, tops, for those 2 or 3 days it will be cool, or even cold.
I woke up this morning to 54F.
It’s not, by any means, freezing.
Am I going to sweat, though? Nope. Because no matter where you are, 54 is considered cold and you need a bloody jacket (I need a sweater under that jacket, but how I’m always cold is a different matter).
Also, as we’re used to living in the sun and warmth, we feel the cruel lack of it even more.
The point of this post is, don’t judge whether temperature (and heat/chill index) by the state. A Floridian 54F is equal to a Minnesota 54F.
Honestly, in summer I get also a lot of, “Florida is so, so hot”.
It is hot. But have you ever been to Arizona? I have friends there and man, they really pack up the heat. Actual heat, not humidity. That’s all us. We start growing gills coming March.
Now tell me, what is the biggest misunderstanding/misconception about the place where you live that really gets to your nerves?
Mine is that I can’t be cold because I live in Florida.
I’m running a Holiday Sale for my books! All are only 99 cents!
Crescent Creek Collection
From the cold Canadian border, the US1 runs along the east coast with patience. Southbound, always south, until it reaches the Sunshine State. Not the fastest way, sure, but if you have time to drive it all the way down, you might find yourself lost in one of the coastal towns that dot the US1 like little jewels. Maybe that town’s name is Crescent Creek.
These are the stories of its people.
All Those Miles I Walked ~ Crescent Creek 1
At eighteen, DJ made a choice–her heart or her dreams. Neither was wrong, yet either would break her heart. She chose the world. Over a decade later, she returns to Crescent Creek and to the one regret she’s ever had–Scott.
Scott’s always been steady as a rocky reef. He’d loved once and when she’d left, his strong heart had crumbled like a sandcastle. Now DJ is back, and Scott wants nothing to do with her. If only Eva, his and DJ’s old friend, didn’t need their help. Because of her, he’s stuck with DJ and he’d be damned, she still gets under his skin.
DJ is a free spirit who needs the road under her feet. Scott is a family man who wants to groom his roots. With danger on their doorstep and a baby to keep safe, how much are they willing to compromise for love?
Painted Love ~ Crescent Creek 2
Thou shalt not steal.
Oh, but Florence had, and would do so one last time. Ten pieces her grandfather painted for her because he loved her. Ten pieces her mother lost, along with anything else, for loving the wrong man. She couldn’t get back everything he’d wasted away, but she’d be damned if she’d give up those paintings.
Easy and genuine, Rhett loves his life–his family, his market, his town. Until he meets a British woman with grey eyes and a cute little smile. The woman he’s been waiting for. The thing is, to love her is easy, but can he trust her?
When Rhett pushes to uncover her agenda, Flo knows she will lose something–the man she loves or what she’d been fighting for years. Which road will she choose?
His Midnight Sun ~ Crescent Creek 3
Tormented, fierce, and broken, sculptor Aidan Murphy has judged himself guilty. He yearns for love but pushes everyone away. He longs for acceptance but has lost the key to open his heart. Until he meets Summer Williams. Beautiful and smart, Dr. Williams promises haven for a man who believes he deserves none. All he has to do is let her in and risk his heart and soul.
Summer’s managed to keep her inner light alive, even through tragedy. She’s created a new life for herself and her daughter in Crescent Creek with loving, caring and fun friends–well, except brooding, breathtaking Aidan. She’s used to keeping away from his type, though. All she has to do is ignore the pull of a man who’s turning up to be much more than snarls and storms. Will her compassion and medical instincts let her?
Love can heal a broken soul and shake up a timid heart. Or it can unleash devastation and revenge.
My sister was all the family I had. She was taken from me and now, someone wants me dead, too. Not sure why.
I’m sure I’m not going to give my life up, though. I’m not going to let them get away with my sister’s murder.
The new me will try, anyway.
You see, when she was alive I could live in brightness and peace. Now I have to accept the darkness within me. After all, isn’t life about balance? Ironically, the man who can teach me how to embrace the shadows is broken, hopeless, and angry. Mark is also the only one I trust to lead me through my heart’s night, and back into the light.
The one I trust to keep us alive.
A favor to a teammate: pick up two girls in trouble, take them to the Team’s safehouse. Should have been easy. It was not.
Then someone killed one of my team, one of my brothers. Now it’s personal.
They want me, too.
They want me, too. I can deal with that. But they want Ann. The only person who cut through me, who woke me, who grabbed my hand and guided me back into life one smile at the time.
I’ll be damned if I let them have anything.
Not. One. Damned. Thing.
From NY to sunny Miami, Ann and Mark run into a maze of lie, betrayal, and death, where love is the only, terrifying certainty. And when truth unravels, they will have to risk all to survive.
About the Author
Beach bum and country music addicted, Viviana lives in a small Floridian town with her husband and her son, her die-hard fans and personal cheer squad. She spends her days between typing on her beloved keyboard, playing in the pool with her boy, and eating whatever her husband puts on her plate (the guy is that good, and she really loves eating). Besides beaching, she enjoys long walks, horse-riding, hiking, and pretty much whatever she can do outside with her family.
When Worlds Collide is the first book in the Crenshaw brothers series. It is the first ever—my extensive research supports this assumption—pickleball romance. Pickleball is a racket sport, a hot one at that, and I feature this sport in my very first pickleball romance. I’m in the editing process, a crucial part in my approach to writing. This is the place where I see my characters solidify as they evolve with the narration. Two-dimensional aspects turn realistic. Contrary to the creative process when I’m just beginning a book, the editing stage is intense and deeply satisfying. I call this my “holing up” period. I’m off everyone’s radar for a bit which can mean anything from a few days to weeks. I come out of my hole when friends begin to question my whereabouts.
In between I add on to promoting my new romance to be released in February 2020 as I wear many hats being the writer, publisher, publicist and marketing CEO of Karma’s Slow Burn.
Karma’s Slow Burn
Karma’s Slow Burn, promo price of $1.99 on pre-order until date of release on 1 Feb 2020!
Sportswriter Karma Huntington is going to hit Rafael Henley, star pitcher for the Sliders, hard to avenge her husband’s death. Rafael cannot ignore the chemistry between them and decides a one-night stand is in order. Karma agrees. Just to get that itch off. But once they get into each other’s pants, things get complicated. Revenge and guilt take a back seat with sizzling chemistry in control. Rafael likes willowy blondes and women who don’t look to him as their protector. Yet here is, lusting after the complete opposite: petite, raven-haired, Karma with a rose tat running up her neck. Can Rafael overcome the dark secret he hides and give in to what his heart wants? Will Karma finally admit she needs Rafael?
Reverie? What kind of a man used such an old-fashioned word?
Karma hoped he wasn’t expecting polite conversation and was glad when he maintained silence. Finally, she couldn’t stand it anymore and opened her eyes. His features were bathed in the silver light of the moon. Dark hair maybe. That nose. There was something about it. And those lips. She’d seen them before.
“Henley! What are you doing here? On my spot?”
He peered at her, angled his face and his features came into focus. “Your spot? I distinctly heard you say this is free and not yours to own, Karma.”
“This,” using her index fingers, she made a square in the air right before her face, “is my spot. That,” she jabbed a finger in a vague direction away from her, “is yours.”
“All right then. Now that’s clear.”
“Anyway Henley, what are you doing here?”
“Getting back from my mother’s. She lives up there,” he pointed with his chin.
“You’ll have to spell that out. Can’t see a bloody thing in this moonlight.”
“Right over on Miranda Ave. And you?”
“Right, I forgot. Small world.”
“Yeah. How’s that baby of yours?”
“The most beautiful thing on this earth.”
“ Remind me, boy or girl?”
“Think we could get together for some pictures?”
“Sure. Just let me know.”
After that, nothing more was said. Clouds wandered in bit by bit until they extinguished the light from the moon, shrouding them in its pale afterglow. Karma became increasingly aware of the figure beside her. She crinkled her nose. Definitely something woodsy maybe even citrusy. She felt the shape of his arm next to hers and had an unbearable urge to touch him. The light from the moon turned diffuse before it became dark.
When he did something, she nearly jumped out of her skin, she had so tuned out. His hand was under her chin cupping it, turning her face to him. She made out the shape of his face before he lowered his head further.
“I’m going to kiss you, Karma. You have five seconds to stop me if you don’t want this as badly as I do.”
His sexy voice slithered into her ears and five seconds later, his silky beard brushed against her cheeks and then his mouth was on hers. His other hand moved to her back pulling her closer to him and then she was in his lap.
Fireflies in the Night
Literary Fiction, winner of the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Award; Best Books of 2016 by Kirkus Reviews; Starred Kirkus Review; Finalist Foreword Reviews Indie Fiction Award. A historical, coming-of-age novel.
Nalini Warriar dreamed of being a writer then forgot the dream for a bit as she went on to garner a Ph.D in Molecular Biology. While in her lab, the dream came back and hit her on the head, and she’s never looked back, writing through her years as a scientist. After more than a decade in cancer research, Nalini returned to the creative part of her soul and now devotes her time to dreaming up the perfect alpha male and feisty woman to appear in her books. Her novel, Fireflies in the Night, was a Foreword Reviews Fab Award finalist and won the Next Generation Indie Book Award in 2017. Kirkus Reviews awarded Fireflies in the Night a starred review and named it Best Books of 2016. Karma’s Slow Burn, a contemporary romance will be released in February 2020. She’s working on her next romance, a Crenshaw Brothers book, to be released in 2020. She lives in Ontario, Canada.
This is a weird holiday season. Mom went into the hospital last Friday and is still there. Doctors have to perform a surgery, but they’ve been trying to get her heart to behave before they do, so here we are, crossing our fingers it will happen today.
In the meantime, company is beginning to roll in. One brother arrived today. He’s going to do most of the cooking, so he’s already pitching in grocery shopping, etc. Another brother comes in late tonight. A cousin tomorrow. We hope all goes well and mom will be home for Thanksgiving, but if not, we may be delivering her meal to the hospital (PG, everything go well).
As for me. I’m not a cook. I managed to cook a chicken in the crock pot to use in the dressing, but that’s as far as anyone trusts me to muddle in the kitchen. I’m still recovering from a nearly month-long illness, but at least I have my voice back. I am late on delivering edits to a client-friend, and feel awful about it, but it’s been insane around here. I’m doing what I can in short bouts to get through them.
And of course, there is no time for new words. sigh
All the kids are out of school, so they are constantly underfoot. Lots of noise. Not that that is a bad thing, mind you, but it does add to the surreal vibe of this week.
Anyway, here’s hoping your week is more joyous than mine, so far. Let me know if you’ve got holiday plans!
Now that I’ve survived the madness of drafting and editing my latest book release, I’ve moved into the promotion stage. I always try to incorporate my love of beading and crafting into my giveaways and promotions. This year, I’m working on easy-peasy stamped ornaments.
All you need are stamping tools (stamps, hammer, base to stamp on), flat washers, a permanent black marker (optional) & rubbing alcohol, and some thin ribbon. The washers I’m using are 0.5” (inside opening width) x 1” (width of the outside of the circle) Zinc-plated standard, flat washers.
I’m writing this assuming that you have a basic knowledge of stamping metal, but if not there are a ton of easy-to-follow tutorials on you tube.
All you need to do to make your ornaments is stamp a very short message around the circle of the washer. I like to leave a small gap at the “top” of the circle where the ribbon will wrapped, but that’s not necessary. In my example I stamped a few with “Let It Snow” and others with “Believe”. You may have to practice a bit to get the spacing just right.
Once you’ve finished stamping you can color over the letters with a black permanent marker to fill in the grooves you stamped to make the letters stand out. But be prepared to quickly wipe the surface with a paper towel or cotton ball dampened with the rubbing alcohol to get the excess marker off. I’ve found with these zinc washers if you let the marker dry, it’s much harder to get the excess black ink off. You can repeat the process if you take too much ink out of the grooves.
Now, you’re ready to add a length of ribbon to act as the ornament hanger. You can also add a bead or charm for extra decoration. You can also use a large jump ring instead of the ribbon if you would rather use the washer as a jewelry charm for a necklace, bracelet, or key ring.
Have fun with it!
Be sure to check out my new release, Christmas Royale! The links are still going live, but they will all eventually be available on the universal landing page: https://books2read.com/u/mla7Qq
Phoebe Ashdown cannot believe her luck. Only she could run into the cad who jilted one of her closest friends while attending a Christmas ball in a foreign country. Other than his false identity and the trail of broken hearts he scattered across London ballrooms, he is just the sort of gentleman she should marry. She wants to hold on to her loathing of him but there’s something dangerously appealing about him now and it’s not just the alias he uses.
The gentle folks of Genoa have been forced to turn a blind eye to the illegal activities going on beneath their noses for years. But as an undercover investigator for the Royal Intelligence Office, Vernon Wright cannot. His orders are clear: find the source of the slaves being funneled into London and report back. When he unexpectedly crosses paths with a former acquaintance, a woman he was secretly attracted to since her coming out, he must use all his powers of persuasion to keep her from blowing his cover.
After Phoebe’s sister goes missing, she is forced to turn to Vernon for help. Sparks fly as well as bullets as they search for her sister. They will have to rely on each other if they hope to make it back to England in time for Christmas.
Leave a comment or question for me to be entered into a drawing for pair of handmade Christmas holly earrings (US residents only, please).
Psst! My apologies to Ane! I’m posting this a day late. My mother went into the hospital on Friday, so we’re a bit upside down at Devlin house! Enjoy the post!
I am fully aware The Holiday is not quite here, but this year will be the first time I’ve had the opportunity to cook Thanksgiving dinner for my family in about five years. When I retired, my husband and I opted to travel the country, living fulltime in our RV, clearing our bucket list and volunteering in State parks. That five-year trip was an exceptional adventure. Now, as I get ready to move back into a “Brick and Stick” house and wait for the delivery of my personal belongings from storage, I’m recalling the incredible number of disasters—both imagined and real that happened over the fifty odd years when I was in charge of the kitchen, menu, turkey, etc.
So, what I’d like to do is share a few ground rules guidelines that might help you get through the holiday with less stress and, hopefully, a little more peace on earth.
Again, and this bears repeating: What can go wrong usually will.
Typically, it takes about five days to thaw a 24 lb. turkey. I found out the hard way, that this feat can be accomplished in about two to three hours. It requires a large, clean cooler. Place the cooler in a bathtub. Fill it with lukewarm water, immerse the frozen turkey and spin until the water cools. Dump the cold water and begin the process again. Repeat until the turkey thaws.
You’re wondering how I know this. One year, when newly a nurse and far from my hometown, several of the single nurses decided to have a “friends” holiday. Since our employer provided each of us a turkey, as a group, we donated the excess birds to a local church for their holiday food drive. We also opted to split the Thanksgiving “on call” hours into eight-hour shifts. At eight AM on Thanksgiving Day, the nurse relieving me from call handed me a frozen turkey. That’s right. 24 lbs. to be cooked by 4 PM.
My friends and I survived with a few adjustments and had a terrific holiday. But I learned a few things that day which have served me well over the years. These are not really rules for holidays but think of them as guidelines. Please use what you can and ignore the rest.
When you have a galley kitchen in a tiny apartment, people don’t usually invade your space. Unless they really want to help you cook. Make a plan and stick to it. Check back with the people who agree to help with the cooking to make sure you stay on the same page.
This Frozen Turkey event exacerbated the control freak in me. I never approached a large gathering or a family holiday in the same frivolous way as I did on that single girlfriends Thanksgiving.
Rules Guidelines for Holiday Survival
Clean out the fridge before the big day. This will assure the storage containers are clean and available.
Make a list of things you can cook ahead that will not suffer in reheating. Desserts, rolls, snacks, are an excellent choice.
Assign side dishes, dessert, etc. to relatives who want to help. This only works with reliable people who will stick to your plan.
Remember your company will probably show up early, to assure them a good parking spot.
Be prepared for people who want to help in the kitchen on the day. Leave chores you can trust them with and set up for them. I usually set the table but don’t add napkins, silver, serving spoons to the table. I assemble these things on a tray. Assign the chore, relieve the stress on the kitchen and appreciate the help.
When you assign side dishes to relatives, be specific about what you can cook. You cannot cook your turkey when friends and relatives show up expecting you to manage the cooking or reheating for 120 side dishes at different temps while you are cooking turkey. Remember, 1 oven, 1 microwave, 1 toaster oven, is usually all that’s available. In a pinch, you can empty the dishwasher, turn on the drying cycle and load the reheated food into the top rack while you manage shifting other sides around for reheating. Rolls do okay but keep an eye out for food drying out. Short term use.
Make sure you have extra foil and plastic wrap on hand as well as containers you don’t need to have returned. I buy a pack of easily forgotten containers at the Dollar Store, along with a multipack of shower caps. The shower caps are great for covering pies, cookies, and individual plates. I think you get twenty for $1.
Remember, the oven is only so big. In an apartment you might not be able to fit a giant bird in there. Two birds are better than one. Double the dark meat. Two wishbones, need I say more? You can cook the smaller birds back to back. When you carve and serve the first, slip the other precooked turkey into the oven while your guests are enjoying the first bird.
If you’re also having a houseful of company, make sure you plan for a good breakfast. I usually do an egg, sausage, and bread casserole assembled the night before, cooked first thing in the morning and served with fruit, coffee, and sweet breads. This breakfast is hearty enough to keep the family satisfied till dinner is ready midafternoon. It holds up well for stragglers, too.
And I’m including a real southern recipe for Corn Pudding just in case you can’t take one more year of looking at the green bean casserole.
Corn Pudding Recipe
¼ cup of all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
3 cups fresh or frozen corn, drained, and divided
3 large eggs
2 cups whole milk
¼ cup unsalted butter melted
1 ½ Tbs. scallions chopped, optional
Grease and flour an 8×8 baking dish or casserole dish of the same size. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Stir together flour, sugar, salt, and pepper, set aside. Pulse one cup of corn in a food processor until smooth. Set aside. Whisk eggs in a large bowl, then stir in flour and milk until combined. Whisk in melted butter and corn puree, add scallions and the rest of the corn. Stir to combine well. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and bake in preheated oven until puffed and lightly browned. Takes about 40 minutes. Sprinkle the top with chopped scallions if desired. Enjoy. FYI, this dish is delicious served hot or just warm.
Born and raised in the great northeast, she writes a fictional series Survivors of Salem, about the witches who survived the Salem Witch Trials. She is also currently working on books about fulltime RVing.