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Archive for 'paranormal'



Reina Torres: I Confess! I love Reality Shows! (Contest)
Wednesday, June 17th, 2020

UPDATE: The winner is…Charlotte!
*~*~*

Project Runway. Face Off. Skin Wars. Top Chef. Hell’s Kitchen (only while I’m editing). Bar Rescue.

Okay, I could go on, but I won’t. Because this episode of Binge Watch Confessions is about Bar Rescue.

It started at first because, apparently, my muse likes the soothing background music of men screaming. I’m sure there’s a lot for a therapist to unpack there, but that’s for another day.

But I was flipping channels, and there was Jon Taffer yelling at a beleaguered bar owner who is too stuck in his own way to get out of his own way.

That part wasn’t all that interesting, but then he brought in his bar experts. A mixologist for the drinks and a chef for the kitchen. Now, I get my fill of foodie stuff in other places, but the drinks.

Oh, that was interesting. Drink programs tailored to the bar, either by theme or location. Or both. It was fascinating and I ate it up. I watched as they explained why stirring a drink or shaking it made a difference. As they used fresh ingredients and explained the reason it made drinks better. For a person who got a degree in the background tech of theater, it spoke to me.

I like to craft. To make. I guess it’s not all that off base that I became an author. Crafting stories.

Well, in XAVIER, the heroine is True Sinclair, and she is a mixologist hired to craft a drink program for “The Majestic” a bar at a resort that caters to shapeshifters. It’s a resort that is being brought back to its heyday after years of being dormant.

The idea is to create a place where shapeshifters can just “be” and not worry that they have to protect themselves from humans or people who are curious. The entire town is a place where shifters have been open about their lives since its foundation.

So, when I was researching drinks to “transform” into shifter-themed drinks, I was shocked to find out that somehow I’d tied a plot point into a neat little bow. Without realizing it.

My hero, Xavier, is a panther shifter. He crafts his own moonshine for himself and his friends. During my research, I discovered that a slang name for moonshine is PANTHER’S BREATH.

Well, goodness…wasn’t that…odd.

Xavier releases next Tuesday and is on a preorder sale that will continue for a short time after release.

Xavier

He thought he wanted his freedom and his solitude more than anything else in the world… until he met her.

Xavier Salazar lives the life that he wants. He has his friends and his home carved into Mystic Mountain. It’s his retreat, his refuge. When a gorgeous woman shows up in town to help make the resort’s bar a brilliant success, he’s torn. Xavier is determined to drive her away, but his panther wants to touch her all over, hide her away in their den, and add to the family that he was slowly creating around himself.

Oh, he was going to fight… hard. And yet, even he knew he was probably fighting a losing battle.

True Sinclair is at the top of her profession. Being a world-class mixologist means she knows how to blend all kinds of things together. She just can’t fathom why Xavier treats her like he’s oil and she’s water. There was no doubt that he was combustible around her.

At first, he can’t seem to force himself to be civil or even make an effort to share the same town, but she finds herself drawn to the dichotomy warring inside of him.

True knows what he is and she knows what she wants, but she won’t wait around forever if the man who makes her blind with love and drunk with passion won’t even meet her halfway.

Pre-order your copy here!

Contest

I’m happy to offer an ebook copy of Book 1 of the series WINTER.
All you have to do is tell us their favorite mixed drink and why you like it!

N.J. Walters: Time to Watch a Movie
Monday, May 18th, 2020

It’s been a tough couple of months for all of us. We all need an escape, something to help us relax. I’ve been reading a lot—it’s what I do. But it’s also a great time to watch movies, especially older movie series. Maybe you’ve them, maybe you haven’t. Either way, pop some corn, grab some chocolate, and watch them for the first time or enjoy them again.

Lord of the Rings—If you haven’t seen these films, you really need to. I’ve seen them over a half dozen times…probably more. They are amazing feats of cinematic magic. Fantasy, epic battles, good versus evil, unforgettable characters, and a beautiful love story. And let’s not forget Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn.

In order: The Fellowship of the Rings, The Two Towers, The Return of the King.

Underworld—If you’re a fan of the paranormal, you have to see these films. The heroine is kickass. The first three movies are the best. The final two lack the punch of the original two.)

In order: Underworld, Underworld: Evolution, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, Underworld Awakening, Underworld: Blood Wars.

The Bourne series—You have to love Matt Damon as Jason Bourne. Lots of amazing action.

In order: The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Bourne Legacy (with Jeremy Renner) and Jason Bourne.

Pirates of the Caribbean—I love Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. These films are action-packed and filled with so much fun, not to mention a wonderful love story.

In order: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Dead Man’s Chest, At World’s End, On Stranger Tides, and Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Indiana Jones—Harrison Ford makes us all want to be archeologists in these amazing movies. Drama, adventure, good versus evil, and so much fun. (The first three were wonderful, but I didn’t enjoy the last one as much.)

In order: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

If these don’t suit, here are a few more you might check out: Star Wars, Rocky, Die Hard, Terminator, Hunger Games, John Wick, and Rambo. And if you’re feeling really ambitious, why not go back to the beginning and watch all the Avengers movies.

What are some of your favorite movie series?

And if you’re looking for something to read, you might want to check out ARCTIC BITE, the second book in my Forgotten Brotherhood series, out now.

Arctic Bite
Forgotten Brotherhood, Book Two

Being immortal doesn’t mean you can’t die. It just means you’re damn hard to kill.

When Alexei Medvedev joined the Forgotten Brotherhood—paranormals hired to assassinate other paranormals—he knew it wouldn’t be a cake walk. But his next target is one of Death’s own Reapers gone rogue. For the first time since he started this gig, “damn hard to kill” feels more like “damn near impossible.”

Tracking Cassie Dobbs brings him to a remote bar in small-town Alaska, where this hot-as-hell Reaper is casually serving drinks, as if she doesn’t have a bounty on her head from Death himself. Alexei is dangerously intrigued. Everyone in the Brotherhood knows the first rule: don’t fall for your target.

But Alexei soon has bigger problems to face than an unexpected attraction. They only send assassins after those who deserve to die…or so he’s been made to believe. Now that he’s met Cassie, though, he’s not so sure.

What if everything he’s been told is a lie, and the person he’s been sent to kill is the only one who knows the truth?

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0867QY8W2/
Entangled: https://entangledpublishing.com/artic-bite.html
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/arctic-bite-n-j-walters/1136703731
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/arctic-bite
iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/arctic-bite/id1504086378

About the Author

N.J. Walters is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks—all vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.

Visit me at:
Website: http://www.njwalters.com
Blog: http://www.njwalters.blogspot.com
Newsletter Sign Up: http://eepurl.com/gdblg5
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/N.J.WaltersAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/njwaltersauthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/NJWalters
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/njwalters
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/n-j-walters

Flashback: Crescent Moon (Contest)
Tuesday, May 5th, 2020

UPLOAD: The winner is…Pansy Petal!
*~*~*

Here’s a story you might not be aware that I wrote. It first appeared with Montlake as a serialized story, issued in eight increments, and then offered as full-length novel. I loved writing this story. I did an enormous amount of research for it, studying Egyptian mythological figures, the Land of the Dead, the history of The God’s Wife… A real thing, by the way. And of course, I had fun setting the bulk of the story in present-day New Orleans. There’s no more perfect setting for the story of a mummy being brought back to life.

Crescent Moon

Crescent Moon Trading Card (front)

From ancient Egypt to present-day New Orleans, a woman of exceptional strength is called to protect against an unspeakable evil…and to experience an unforgettable seduction.

Khepri still isn’t used to being The God’s Wife. The daughter of a common farmer, she’s more comfortable being friends with servants than employing a whole team of them. Being the wife of Amun affords her luxuries she only dreamed of, but her dreams are not always a haven…they are also filled with demons. Lately she’s had doubts about the role she’s been thrust into. She’s had yearnings for another sort of life, one where she’s loved intimately, rather than only adored from afar.

When a powerful man lures her away from her temple, she’s thrilled at the chance for an adventure. Her adventure quickly becomes a nightmare when the handsome vizier mummifies her alive. Pure of heart and body, she’s the warrior he foresees will battle a demonic pharaoh if ever he awakens. Khepri’s sure he’s insane, until she awakens in a distant future. Alone and needing a guide in this strange and garish new world, she turns to the troubled man who set her free…

When New Orleans police detective Justin Henry Boucher is called to the Garden Museum to investigate stolen Egyptian artifacts, it’s not exactly the adrenaline rush he used to get working a homicide. But with a reprimand on his record and a sorrow he can’t shake, he will take what he can get — as long as he can keep his badge. What he doesn’t count on is having to keep his cool when he finds one of the priceless artifacts — a golden-skinned goddess wrapped in fabric like a mummy, left to die and needing his help. She’s a mystery he’s determined to unravel. She might also be the cure for his lonely heart.

Get your copy here!
FREE IN KU!
Available as an eBook, paperback, or audio!

Contest

Comment for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card!
Do you love stories based on history and myths?

An Excerpt from Crescent Moon

One last time, her mind drifted, peacefully content…no shadows or disquiet to disturb her…allowing her to separate the parts of herself, first body from spirit…and then the mournful, dying part of her soul to dwell forever in the pit, while what remained, the part that would be born again, floated upward on golden wings.

Her sprit ba left her mortal shell and spread its wings, flying through the small bright hole in the ceiling, leaving behind her swaddled human form, which lay on a bare wooden bench. One, two, three strong surges of her fluttering wings and she flew toward the sun, free at last and feeling grateful to her husband for his generous gift. Her wings caught an updraft and she held them still, floating on the wind, the glorious waning sun warming her back.

Her spirit flew above white limestone cliffs and past a deep quarry littered with enormous blocks of carved stone. A sudden gust riffled through her feathers, forcing her to fly west, high above a barren valley.

But at last, her ba tired, circling downward, searching for the great river to lead her home. But no familiar white-washed city dwellings, no temple walls lay below. No fields of cotton and wheat.

Confused, she made her way back to the dismal pit. Not wanting to enter, she flitted around the opening, feeling weary and afraid.

Something dark awaited her. Some horror in the shadows.

And then she spotted the man with the dark, watchful gaze standing beneath the opening, his arms outspread to catch her…

Her heart pounded against her chest, the sound intruding on the vision. Khepri’s eyes slammed open.

Freedom was only a dream, a memory. How long had she been sleeping?

Slowly, Khepri grew more aware of her surroundings. Pressure enveloped her from head to toes. Frayed edges of linen strips surrounded her eyes. An ache centered in her head made her want to gasp, but when she tried to draw a deep breath, the constriction around her chest made the movement impossible. She couldn’t feel her fingers or toes. Her body, other than her head and chest, was numb. Something was terribly wrong. Short, panicked breaths huffed in the silence.

She blinked, bright sunlight streaming through a hole in the rock ceiling above, blinding her, making her eyes tear. Unable to turn her head, she peered beneath the fringe of her dark lashes, through the openings left in the fabric, gazing upward. Her sight cleared slowly, but was filtered as though looking through the gauzy curtains that surrounded her bed in her tiny house inside the temple walls. But the haze obstructing her sight wasn’t merely physical. It was a thin curtain pulled over her mind. One placed there, purposely, to confuse.

Her head reeled, not understanding, not recognizing where she lay. The sickly sweet scent of frankincense tickled her nose.

“Precious little warrior, you are awake.”

If she could have drawn a deep breath, she would have spit. Sudden fury trembled through her body. She didn’t understand what was happening, but knew he was the one to blame. She wanted to rage against him, ask how he dared abduct her. She was Amun’s wife, his mortal consort. But the only sound that scratched from her throat was a tiny whimper.

“You have questions,” he crooned from beside her. “We have little time. Pharaoh’s army marches. They will find us soon. We must bury the nameless one, hide him before they can entomb him. No one must ever find his body. He will not sleep in a sarcophagus. No texts will be written to reawaken him, no mask placed over his head so that he may recognize himself in the afterlife. He must not rise.”

Her lashes drifted downward. She remembered the moment the handsome, lying vizier stepped off the plank lowered from the side of the barge.

“Pharaoh is dead,” he’d said, his voice uninflected.

Her heart had grown still. The news was devastating to be sure, but why had he traveled so far from Luxor to tell her?

And then snippets of memories bombarded her mind.

Khepri moaned, spreading her lips and baring her teeth to catch the edges of the strips surrounding her mouth, but they were stiffened and wouldn’t give. Her eyes rounded in fear as she realized how dire was her predicament.

He bent closer, his dark eyes alight with sympathy. But then he moved away. Taking with him his masculine scent, musk she’d once found attractive. The odor mocked her now.

Although she feared him, she wanted to cling to the sight of him, didn’t want to feel so alone, so trapped and helpless. Perhaps she could reason with him. But he was insane. Would no one stop him?

Deep in her throat, she gurgled, nearly choking on the tears that leaked from her eyes and burned the back of her throat. “Please,” she whispered.

From a distance, she heard his footsteps. He drew nearer, holding in one hand a slender reed with one end frayed and trimmed to form a brush and dripping red paint, and in the other a palette, red pigment swirled. He leaned over her and made strokes on the coverings enclosing her chest, down her belly, splitting over her thighs and moving down to her toes.

“What are you doing?” she rasped, as some of the cool liquid seeped through to touch her skin.

“Painting spells, Khepri, Amun’s wife. Introducing you to Anubis, the protector of souls, entreating him to keep you close until you are needed. To hide you from Osiris so your soul will not be judged. Not yet.”

“Until I am needed? I am needed at the temple.”

He tsked and continued to paint, accompanied by the soft chuffing sounds of bristles rasping on resin-hardened fabric.

Her tears quickened, soaking her skin beneath the wrappings and leaking into her hair. “I am The God’s Wife. You have no right.”

He sighed and strode back into view. When he leaned over her, sympathy no longer shone in his eyes. A deep furrow dug between his sharp dark brows. “I need quiet to think,” he said, his words peppering her like hard pellets.

He placed a hand over her nose and mouth, cutting off her air.

Panic made her gurgle, but she was unable to fight. She stared upward at his gleaming eyes until darkness closed over her vision.

N.J. Walters: Keeping Your Spirits Up
Friday, April 17th, 2020

It’s been a little more than a month since I began self-isolating. I’m an introvert, so staying home isn’t that difficult for me. It’s the stress surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic that I’m having a harder time with. It’s the worry about family and friends, the wondering when this thing will finally end and what it will mean for the world when it does.

There is no going back. This pandemic will change us all, not only individually but the entire world.

Humans are creatures of habit, and me more than most. I miss the little things in my weekly routine—breakfast out, running errands, stopping in at the coffeeshop/bookstore, going out for lunch and a movie, seeing my family. Little things, and certainly not important in the grander scheme of what is going on right now, but I still miss them.

But there are things I am doing to keep my spirits up and find joy. If you’re struggling with stress, there are things you can do that might help. First and foremost is to be gentle with yourself. These are unprecedented times. We don’t exactly have a playbook for this.

1. Call family or friends. Being alone can be tough for some people. I talk to someone in my family daily. Some days, I talk to all of them. It keeps us connected even though we can’t be together.

2. Discover a new show on TV, Netflix, or another streaming service. The last couple of Saturdays, I’ve binged on Netflix shows—Next in Fashion and Messiah. Two totally different kinds of shows. I’ve made Saturday a sleepy, do-nothing-much-of-anything day. If you have kids, it’s tougher, but maybe you can find things to watch as a family.

3. Exercise. It’s tough right now with having to stay inside. I’ve started walking around my apartment and I walk whenever I’m on the phone. If you have a yard, getting outside will certainly help. It’s cold here and there is still snow on the ground.

4. We all want to stay informed, but there comes a time when you need to turn off the TV and shut down social media. I’ve started turning on music. It can be soothing. If you want to rock out or have a dance party, that’s good too. Whatever works for you.

5. Journal. Get your thoughts down. It’s a way to help you work though what you’re feeling and going though. It can also be a record of this historic time that we’re living through.

6. Meditate. There are plenty of free programs or you can search YouTube. Or you can simply turn everything off, close your eyes, and simply breathe.

7. Cook or bake, if you’re so inclined. It’s a great activity if you have kids at home. I don’t do much of it because it’s only me at home. Too many cookies is not a good thing for my waistline.

8. Go online and check out some of the free video tours of famous museums and galleries being offered.

9. Find a new hobby or pick up an old one. If you’re not sure what you’d like to do, go online and look around. Between Pinterest and YouTube there’s not much you can’t find. And if you don’t have the money for a hobby, it’s still fun to watch other people and see what they’re creating. My sister has pulled out all her partially finished projects and is either finishing them or using the materials for a new one.

10. Housework. Yes, I said it. If you’ve been putting off a project, now may be the time to tackle it. Maybe not major home renovation but cleaning out a closet or the garage. I figure when this is over there are going to be tons of yard sales as people unload stuff they no longer want.

11. Draw a hot bath, sink into the water, close your eyes, and relax.

12. And finally, my go-to when my stress level is high is books. I wouldn’t make it without them. I’ve read some new ones and gone back and read old favorites.

If you like paranormal romance and are looking for a new read, you might want to check out Fury Unleashed, the first book in my new Forgotten Brotherhood series.

Fury Unleashed
Forgotten Brotherhood, Book One

Maccus Fury, a fallen angel, is trying hard to keep his sanity. Seems being an assassin might be catching up with him. Now, Heaven, or Hell, has sent a beautiful assassin to kill him. Lovely. She’s pretending to seduce him, and he’s okay with that. She’s smart and snarky—but she has no idea what she’s walked into. And he’s more than peeved that they only sent one person. They’re going to need an army if they want him dead.

Morrigan Quill is one of Hell’s bounty hunters. She sold her soul to keep her sister safe, and now she’s working off her contract by catching bad guys and dragging them back to hell. When Lucifer makes her a new offer––that’s definitely too good to be true—she can’t say no. All she has to do is kill a powerful and crazy-hot fallen angel, who will totally kick her ass in battle.

Good thing he won’t see what’s coming next.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084M1NQ88
Entangled: https://entangledpublishing.com/fury-unleashed.html
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fury-unleashed-n-j-walters/1136398720
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/fury-unleashed-1
iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/fury-unleashed/id1498471438

About the Author

N.J. Walters is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks—all vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.

Visit me at:
Website: http://www.njwalters.com
Blog: http://www.njwalters.blogspot.com
Newsletter Sign Up: http://eepurl.com/gdblg5
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/N.J.WaltersAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/njwaltersauthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/NJWalters
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/njwalters
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/n-j-walters

Cornelia Amiri: The History of the Winter Solstice
Thursday, December 19th, 2019

It’s that time of the year, December 21st to 22nd, when the shortest day and the longest night of the year fall in the Northern Hemisphere. We call that the Winter Solstice. In Welsh they say Alban Arthan (Light of Winter).

To the ancient Celts this day signified the battle and defeat of the Holly King (ruling from Midsummer to Midwinter) by the Oak King (ruling from Midwinter to Midsummer). The Holly King, also seen as a wren bird, symbolized the old year and the shortened sun, while the Oak King, also seen as a robin, stood for the new year and growing sun. The Celts would act out the battle of the Oak King defeating the Holly King during the Winter Solstice celebration.

They also had wren hunts, signifying the death of the Holly King. In Ireland, Wales, and the Isle of Man, Lá an Dreoilín, (Wren Day) was celebrated December 26. Wrenboys dressed in masks or straw suits, usually had a hobby horse covered in a sheet, and it had strings which could close their mouths and make their legs kick. Wren boys were led by a captain and a boy who dressed as a female captain. These boys hunted and killed a wren as tribute to the light for overcoming the dark. They’d set the dead wren in a box decorated with evergreens on a pole and go from house to house asking for food and good cheer. The wren was buried at the end of the rounds. Nowadays, they use a fake wren instead. Both the Holly King and wrens are associated with the Welsh god Bran.

For the Winter Solstice, ancient Celts decorated Yule logs with holly and ivy, which are linked to the God Bran. Usually, they sprinkled ale or mead over the log before they lit it. They kept it slowly, yet steadily burning for 12 days in the fireplace before extinguishing it. To pass the light on from one year to the next, they kept part of the unburned log safely to one side and used it to light next year’s Yule log. Also, they stashed the log’s ashes away until spring, at which time they mixed them with seeds and scattered them on the fields, spreading the blessing contained in the Yule log over the land.

Mistletoe and oak were sacred to the ancient Celts. As an evergreen plant, Mistletoe symbolized continued life over the cold dark winter which is why druids picked it from oak trees five days after the new moon following the Winter Solstice. One druid climbed the tree and cut the mistletoe with a sickle, while others held an open a sheet beneath him to catch the sacred plant since it was taboo to let it touch the ground. The druids handed out sprigs of mistletoe to tribesmen who hung them over entranceways for protection. Mistletoe is also believed to be an aphrodisiac, so this might be where the holiday tradition of ‘kissing under the mistletoe’ originated.

The Celts livelihood depended on what they could raise, grow, or hunt. So, the long, cold days of winter were hard one them. Since they didn’t have enough grain to feed all the cattle during winter, many were slaughtered at this time. This meant fresh meat for the winter solstice feast. Also, ale and mead brewed during the year fermented by this time and were and ready for drinking.

The Bear and the Druidess

My Celtic Winter Solstice novella, The Bear and the Druidess is the third book in my Druidry and the Beast series. It’s available where ebooks are sold. Here’s the blurb:

Sometimes a secret must be revealed to move from the winter of love into its spring.

Romans stole all the winter grain from Druidess Bronwen’s tribe. Now, pursued by Romans, she ducks into a cave to hide. There she finds a handsome warrior who offers to help. He ignites a fiery spark of attraction within her but she can tell he’s keeping something from her.
The prayers of a beautiful druidess he can’t resist lead the Bear God Artaois into the cave where Bronwen is hiding. He pretends to be asleep until she finds him.

Artaois (Art) is determined to spend the longest night of the year with her. But Bronwen doesn’t realize he’s a god. He keeps his secret from her and even though he can transform into a bear, he only reveals himself in human form.

With the Winter Solstice upon them, can Artaois (Art) find a way to save her tribe from starvation? And, when Bronwen finally discovers his secret, will she leave the romance building between them out in the cold.

Get your copy here!

Katherine Kingston: Meet the Christmas Gargoyles
Wednesday, December 4th, 2019

May I introduce you to the Christmas Gargoyles? They’re big, strong, handsome, and caring. They’re protectors and guardians. They’re delicious sexual dominants. But they’re not exactly human.

Every year when the days get short enough, the gargoyles that guard us unseen can take human form if they want. That usually happens when they encounter someone who attracts them in a crucially different way. For that one particular woman they take on human shape for a limited time to make a deeper connection.

It takes more than just looks to attract a gargoyle’s attention. They’re drawn to people who are passionate, self-giving, loving, and caring, even in the midst of their own problems. And once they’ve given their hearts, it’s a lifetime deal. If the woman in question learns to love them in return, there is a way the gargoyle can become fully human, but it’s a serious test for both of them.

The current wave of gargoyle connections began with Averic, known as “Eric”, whose story is told in Gargoyle’s Christmas. Mark (Sophie’s Gargoyle), Ben (Ginny’s Gargoyle), and Glen (Vivian’s Gargoyle, coming soon) followed in his wake. All of them, and the women they love, are tested in a variety of ways.
So, why gargoyles? And what’s the connection to Christmas? I have a hard time following the train of ideas rolling through my head that led to the whole concept. Sometimes a mishmash of ideas just mixes and clashes and finally produces some weird concept.

The feast of Christmas occurs just a few days after the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. The shortest day means the longest night. The most darkness. Gargoyles are creatures of the dark. In their stone incarnations, they tend to sit on high points of churches and other public buildings, giving them perfect perches to watch events below. Inevitably, from watching, they want to join in some of the human activities. And when they meet that one person who interests them more than any other, they want to be able to stay with them.

Latest Release: Ginny’s Gargoyle

Ginny’s Christmas plans didn’t include falling in love with a gargoyle.

*NOTE* This is a rewritten version of a short story included in the Naughty Literati anthologies. It’s been revised and expanded to novella length.

The walk from the bus stop to her D.C. apartment takes just five minutes, but Ginny works second shift and gets home near midnight. When a mugger surprises her on the way one night shortly before Thanksgiving, rescue comes unexpectedly. A mysterious hooded and cloaked stranger saves her and walks her to her apartment but declines her invitation to come in. The next night he meets her at the bus stop and again walks her home, a practice that continues each time she gets home late. As they get to know each other on those nightly walks, he promises that he will soon accept the invitation to her home.

He warns, though, that there are things she needs to know about him she’ll find hard to believe and accept. He isn’t kidding. She can handle his dominating tendencies and maybe even the warning that they can have only a short time together. But when he claims he’s a shapeshifting gargoyle, she has to wonder whether letting him into her life is a good idea after all.

Buy Links:
• Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZZJLHGT
• Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ginnys-gargoyle-katherine-kingston/1134656970
• iTunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1486053880
• Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/ginny-s-gargoyle
• Universal Book link: https://books2read.com/u/4j1vDk

Ane Ryan Walker: Thanksgiving — So much to be thankful for and so many things that can and will go wrong. Count on it. (Recipe)
Sunday, November 24th, 2019

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!

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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

  1. Don’t panic.
  2. Plan ahead.
  3. Clean out the fridge before the big day. This will assure the storage containers are clean and available.
  4. Make a list of things you can cook ahead that will not suffer in reheating. Desserts, rolls, snacks, are an excellent choice.
  5. Assign side dishes, dessert, etc. to relatives who want to help. This only works with reliable people who will stick to your plan.
  6. Remember your company will probably show up early, to assure them a good parking spot.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.

Happy Thanksgiving!

About the Author

Ane Ryan Walker is an author and adventurer who believes in Angels, Demons, Witches and Magic. She recently settled in Alabama, after traveling the country with her husband and living fulltime in her RV. Ane is a member of Romance Writers of America©, Greater Houston RWA, and Women’s Fiction Chapter of RWA.

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.

In addition to Return to Angels Cove, look for the second book in the Survivors of Salem, The Covenant.