Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Re-release and new cover for MG fiction CINDERSKELLA!


It's been quite a journey for mother/daughter author team Amie and Bethanie Borst as they've worked endlessly to breathe new life into Cinderskella's new cover (and what an awesome cover it is), illustrations (I've been told they're amazing), and even the story itself after leaving Jolly Fish Press in 2016. And the dynamic duo is super stoked with the changes! Can't wait to see what they do with the other books in their series.

Cinderskella is due to re-release in February 2018, so mark your calendars!

Blurb:
It’s not just monsters that go bump in the night. Sometimes it’s skeleton-girls, too. Cindy might appear to be your average twelve year old, but since her mother’s death she has a secret. Every night she faces a horrible, terrible curse; one that turns her into a skeleton. Yup, a boney, white skeleton. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Cindy’s own father is scared of her. Plus she has an evil stepmother who makes her do crazy chores, some of them with a toothbrush. And then there’s the wild dog with intentions of making Cindy into his midnight snack. As if all that wasn’t bad enough, the Spring Fling dance is fast approaching and Ethan, the cutest boy in sixth grade, doesn’t seem to know she exists. Cindy doesn’t think letting Ethan know she’s a cursed skeleton-girl is the best way to introduce herself. Determined to break the curse, Cindy travels to the Underworld where things aren’t quite what they seem, including Mr. Death, the strange and creepy Undertaker. With a jar of pickled pig’s feet, a wacky fortuneteller, and an cranky skeleton mouse, Cindy is afraid this curse has really gotten under her skin.


Amie and Bethanie Bio’s:
Amie Borst loves glitter, unicorns, and chocolate. But not at the same time. That would be weird. She’s a PAL member of the SCBWI as well as a founding and contributing member of The Mixed-Up Files…of Middle-Grade Authors, a group blog dedicated to middle-grade books. Amie lives in Virginia with her three beautiful daughters, her handsome husband, and two cute dogs named Lily and Maggie. She wishes she could travel the world in a hot pink elevator but for now, her minivan will have to do.

Bethanie Borst is 17 and the author of three books. When she was only 10 years old, she wrote her first book, Cinderskella. She enjoys reading, writing, and STEM. Bethanie is fluent in both sarcasm and humor and is prepared for the zombie apocalypse and/or spontaneous combustion of the world. Because, let’s face it, both of those things are totally realistic.

Where to find Amie:
Website www.amieborst.com,
Blog www.amieborst.blogspot.com
Facebook www.facebook.com/AmieBorstAuthor

Where to find Bethanie:
Facebook www.facebook.com/amieandbethanieborst
Website www.amieandbethanieborst.com

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

COVER REVEAL: Perils of Wrath by Elsie Park

Cover design by Dane Low of Ebook Launch in conjunction with Amberjack Publishing. 

Perils of Wrath finally has a cover, and I LOVE it!

Perils of Wrath, a proper medieval action-romance and sequel to Shadows of Valor, follows the story of the orphan boy, Roland, who is now a gallant knight and pursuing his own quest.

“Nothing frustrates a knight more than being shackled to an unruly female squire with guarded secrets and a persistent sweet tooth.”

Sir Roland's inquiries into a pair of suspicious deaths leads him to Guildon Castle, a foreboding structure near the war-torn Scottish border. His attempt to lie low is waylaid by an assignment from the tyrannical Lord Craven to tame his disobedient stepdaughter, Audrina—by making her Roland's squire! A female apprentice? Unheard of! The rigorous knight training pits Audri's tenacity against Roland's short temper, but is his squire more than what her stepfather portrays her to be? Her guarded nature suggests another side, one with veiled secrets. Can things be more convoluted? Apparently so, as Roland’s hunt for truth unearths horrors from the dungeon and enemy attention. Roland must tread carefully or he, and his squire, will end up as so many others who trespassed on furtive matters.

Perils of Wrath is slated for release May 2018 through Amberjack Publishing.

Book trailers coming soon!



Sunday, September 3, 2017

Chicken Pillows and Red Velvet Brownies

My oldest daughter is turning 12 and when I asked her what she wanted for her birthday dinner and dessert she said, "CHICKEN PILLOWS and RED VELVET BROWNIES." Okay, the chicken pillows I could do, no problem, but red velvet brownies? Did such a thing exist? Turned out they do, but I needed a simple version. I had a box of red velvet cake mix in the pantry. Could I do something with that? Turned out I could. Online I found several sites telling me how to make cake mix into brownies. NICE! Here are the recipes for chicken pillows and cake mix brownies. Buon appetito amici!


Chicken pillow image from:
http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2011/04/chicken-pillows.html
Chicken Pillows

5-6 (5 oz each) cans chicken, or 5-6 cooked breasts of chicken, diced or shredded
16 oz cream cheese, softened (can use low fat)
Salt and pepper to taste
6 stalks celery, diced
1/4 - 1/2 cup onions, diced
5 tubes (8 rolls in each tube) refrigerator crescent rolls
1 stick melted butter
1-2 cups bread crumbs (plain or seasoned) or crushed dry stuffing mix
Cream of chicken or mushroom soup mixed with 1/2 cup milk or use chicken gravy

Combine chicken, cream cheese, salt, pepper, celery and onion. Add a large spoonful (a little larger than golf ball size) of mixture to each crescent roll triangle. Wrap dough around filling and pinch edges to seal completely. Roll between hands to form into a nice ball. Dip each chicken-dough ball in melted butter (or milk), then roll in bread crumbs. Place rolls on ungreased baking pan (1/2” to 1” apart). Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350°F until they are golden. Remove to plates and pour hot cream of chicken soup or gravy over the chicken pillows.


Cake Mix Brownies

1 (15-18 oz) box chocolate cake mix (or other flavor if desired)
1 egg
1/3 cup water (or milk)
1/4 cup cooking oil (or softened, not melted, butter)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease, or spray with cooking spray, a 9x13-inch pan. Mix dry cake mix, egg, water, and oil until completely combined. The batter will be very thick and very sticky. Spread batter into prepared pan (the thickness of the batter makes spreading in the pan more time consuming than with normal brownie mix). Batter will be spread very thin in the 9x13 pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

FREE and ON SALE only in JULY: Adrienne Monson's Vampire Trilogy!


Did you know that July is Adrienne Monson’s birthday month? And she’s celebrating by putting her vampire trilogy on sale on Amazon! DISSENSION is FREE to download now until July 22! DEFIANCE is ON SALE for only .99 from now until July 25th. And DELIVERANCE is ALSO ON SALE for only 1.99 now until the 25th. Happy birthday to Adrienne! :D

Read the blurbs below and take advantage of this celebratory sale!

DISSENSION ~ Reluctant vampire Leisha is caught in the middle of an ongoing bloody war between her people and immortals, an undying race sworn to destroy all vampires. It's a different life from the one she had 2,000 years ago when she led a quiet life as a devoted mother. Leisha soon finds herself captured by the government, only to be saved by a mysterious human girl. Leisha and her newfound friend run for their lives while searching for the one thing that can bring an end to this escalating conflict -- the prophecy child.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MRZQF9E/ref=series_rw_dp_sw

DEFIANCE ~ Leisha and Samantha barely survived the vampires and immortals six months ago. Now, an explosive battle seems imminent. It's more important than ever that the prophecy child is found, but there's a problem—Leisha has lost her powers. She seems like nothing more than a human. Her newfound humanity is further complicated when Tafari, her old lover, appears with a desire for reconciliation. Can Leisha lock up the past to save those she loves? Or will fate tear everything from her once again?
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MUYH6V9/ref=series_rw_dp_sw

DELIVERANCE ~ For three years Leisha has kept Liam, the prophecy child, safe from the Immortals. But when Leisha is taken, twenty-year-old Samantha can't keep Liam safe on her own. On the cusp of the ultimate battle between vampires and Immortals, Samantha turns to her ex-boyfriend Nik for help, determined to keep her heart closed this time. Desolation looms as Liam seeks to fulfill his unknown destiny. Will he bring vampires and Immortals together or is there a much darker prophecy at work? Deliverance is the epic conclusion to the Blood Inheritance Trilogy.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XN6KP99/ref=series_rw_dp_sw

Friday, July 7, 2017

Recipe: TEXAS SHEET CAKE COOKIES

(click on picture to enlarge and read it easier)

This recipe for TEXAS SHEET CAKE COOKIES came in our local North Ogden City mailer. The girls and I tried them out and they were SO DANG GOOD! If you make them, follow the recipe directions and don't over bake. Oh, my personal note: reduce the amount of salt added if using salted butter. Ours still turned out yummy, but with a hint of saltiness that could have been avoided by reducing or omitting the salt because we used salted butter. Also, they come off the pan easier if using parchment paper like the recipe suggests, but they'll still turn out fine if you don't have parchment paper. We tried both ways. The frosting is what really makes the cookie oh, so tasty. The recipe makes enough frosting for a double batch of cookies, so double the cookies, but only make a single portion of the frosting (unless, of course, you WANT the leftover frosting for other reasons - graham crackers anyone?). We can't make these cookies too often because we ate WAY too many of them. Anyway, just had to share! Enjoy!

Monday, July 3, 2017

My Weight Loss Inspired by Perils of Wrath

145 pounds (current weight on August 16, 2017)



I’ve struggled with weight most of my life, especially after having four kids. It’s always been a brutal war between eating unhealthy or healthy, overeating or showing portion control, sitting on my rear end or exercising, feeling unhappy or feeling content with my life. I’ve had my seasons of a healthier lifestyle or a not-so-healthy existence. I’ve had times when I’ve been so completely sick of my unhealthy habits that I’ve gone to the extreme and restricted my eating to the point of unhealthy or exercised way too much. These practices always backfired with negative results and eventually sent me back to weight gain and depression over my body again.





So what finally got me to change my relationship with food? Writing my second book for one (the other being good friends who inspired me). PERILS OF WRATH, sequel to my first PG-rated medieval action-romance SHADOWS OF VALOR, is slated for release spring 2018. In PERILS OF WRATH my heroine is forced into squireship to a stern knight who sends her through rigorous drills of knight training and who changes her unhealthy view of food intake. Needless to say, she ends up gaining muscle and losing some weight in the process. How much and to what avail? You'll have to wait for the book to come out spring 2018 *wink*. Now this isn’t the only theme in the my story, but I won’t touch on the others in this post.



While writing PERILS OF WRATH I got thinking that as the author of such a tale, I should be an example of what I write. I can do the same thing my characters do. After all, I write stories not only to entertain, but to uplift and inspire readers to make a change in their own lives if need be, and to feel the confidence to accomplish it. So after I finished PERILS OF WRATH, I set a personal goal to, once and for all, gain control over my mind and body to create a healthy relationship with food and exercise. I wanted to “eat to live, not live to eat.”



NOTE: I realize that some people have legitimate sensitivities to certain foods and must adjust their diets accordingly, but for most others, make sure your food choices aren’t just following the latest dietary fad or craze and have nothing to do with your personal needs. That being said, I won't talk about individual circumstances, nor do I have the authority to do so, but I'll simply tell you what I do personally.



What I currently do is quite manageable and successful for me, and it doesn’t discourage or make me feel that I’m “missing out” on anything. I calculate my calorie intake for my height and current weight so I know what will help me maintain or lose, and then I simply REGULATE what I put in my mouth while adding in some light exercise. Yes, it’s that simple, but I know that even simple principles still take effort to follow. 


EXERCISE: I try to do some pushups, sit ups, squats and yard work at least three times a week. If I have the time and feel like going out on a three-mile walk or jog, or doing some aerobics inside, I do, but I don’t stress over it if I can’t. And I don’t kid myself anymore that because I’ve exercised I can eat a ton of junk food. It takes a lot more exercise than one might guess to work off even 500 extra calories, and many candy bars have that many calories in just one. 

EATING: Generally, I keep my calories to about 1,500 a day, but allow for more or less if I feel I need or don’t need them. I listen to my body. I drink water most of the time, but permit occasional juice or soda. I allow for splurging on holidays and other special occasions, but I regulate those times so I don’t go overboard. I don’t restrict ANY foods. I don’t cut out sugar, carbs, grains, fat, meat, dairy, etc., but again, I do regulate them, making sure to eat more of the healthy foods (we all know what they are: healthy fats, lean meats, veggies, fiber, fruits, whole grains, dairy) and less of the unhealthy ones (we know what those are too). I keep a loose record of calories eaten to keep me on track. If I eat way more than I intend to, I don’t beat myself up anymore, but simply start fresh the next day.



I find activities to keep myself out of the kitchen. Drinking water throughout the day and keeping a bottle of it near me all the time helps stave off the munchies. Going outside and working in the yard or playing with my kids, spouse or friends helps to keep my mind off of food. If it’s too hot or cold outside, I stay in and do chores, find a good book to read, play games, or work on a project needing to be done. I try to eat when I'm hungry, not simply because I'm bored. 




Is my weight loss slow? Yes, I suppose it is, but the pounds still come down, and that's what matters. Depending on how “good” I’ve been during the week, I can lose a half to two pounds a week, but my average is about one pound a week. I didn’t used to be satisfied with this slower rate of weight loss and, in fact, have lost up to five pounds per week in the past. But it came off at the price of fatigue, muscle loss, hunger, irritability and gaining it back after I’d burned myself out and quit.  


I’ve latched onto the adage that slow and steady (and may I add wise) wins the race. And this isn't a race against anyone else but myself. If I'm the only one racing, I will certainly come out the victor in the end, no matter how long it takes to get to the finish line.


But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that other people contributed to my recent weight loss success. I must recognize that there are numerous people in my life who have also been successful in getting healthier and losing weight. Along my own journey, these people have supported, inspired and encouraged me to keep going, and I love them all for it. Thank you!


Keeping our bodies healthy gives us a greater chance of living a longer, active life with our loved ones and friends. And that is the ultimate blessing of a healthier lifestyle.

145 pounds (August 16, 2017)

NOTE
: I lost the weight at different intervals stretched out through a one and a half year period that was dotted with times of weight maintenance and even some weight gain depending on my personal circumstances. It was a roller coaster ride, but such is life. 


MY BOOKS  

Find SHADOWS OF VALOR here:
Amazon paperback
Amazon Kindle
Barnes and Noble paperback
Barnes and Noble Nook
Indigo paperback
Indigo Kobo
(Or anywhere online where books and e-books are sold)
Deseret News review
Goodreads
Youtube: Shadows of Valor trailer 1
Youtube: Shadows of Valor trailer 2


SHADOWS OF VALOR blurb:
Like weaving Robin Hood, the Scarlet Pimpernel and Batman into one medieval action-romance, Shadows of Valor follows Sir Calan Beaumont, a knight-spy in 1300 A.D. England heading secret missions for King Edward I. As The Shadow, he hunts down smugglers, resisting a vengeful desire to execute lethal justice. And although his dual identity aids him in catching thieves, it causes mistrust from those closest to him. He feels himself slowly sinking into the depths of cynicism as he deals with the worst of society. A beautiful, but scarred woman from his past holds the key to his humanity, however, she harbors a secret that not only places her in danger, but may cause their separation as well.

PERILS OF WRATH blurb:
In 1314 A.D., Sir Roland, a gallant English knight, searches for the truth behind a pair of suspicious deaths, leading him to Guildon Castle, a foreboding structure near the war-torn Scottish border. Posing as a disinherited knight to keep himself on the down-low, Guildon’s tyrannical earl gives Sir Roland the unusual assignment to taming his obstinate stepdaughter, Audrina Gibbons, by making her Roland’s squire. A female apprentice? Unheard of! But Audri has an agenda of her own, accompanied by a stubborn attitude and secrets kept from her knight mentor. What emerges is a tale of mystery, dishonorable knights, medieval torture, and hardcore training that stacks up to any modern workout. But most of all, this is a story of love and overcoming personal weaknesses.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Guest-hosting book launch for A SUITABLE AFFAIR by Erica Taylor on June 5!


MARK YOUR CALENDARS! I'm guest hosting an online Facebook book launch for Erica Taylor's historical romance, A SUITABLE AFFAIR on June 5th, 2017 (4:30-5:45pm MST).

A SUITABLE AFFAIR is coming to stores and e-retailers June 6th and Erica has invited fourteen other authors, myself included, for THREE DAYS of fun! Join Erica and her guest authors from June 4th through the 6th for author spotlights, live readings, giveaways (free stuff!) and more to celebrate the release of A SUITABLE AFFAIR.

Erica has scheduled me for a 75-minute block on her Facebook Launch Event page on June 5th from 4:30-5:45 pm MST (5:30-6:45 pm CST). I'll be posting and responding to comments about Shadows of Valor, Perils of Wrath, my history with writing them, questions and answers about my writing, and the music I composed for the stories. I'll be putting up medieval-related posts such as history, facts, tidbits, and of course RECIPES (I love recipes)! I'll be giving away a copy of the reissued Shadows of Valor to one lucky winner of a "Youtube post share" that I'll announce at the beginning of my block. It will be a lot of fun. Visit the launch party site before and after my block to engage with other wonderful authors.

Despite being beautiful and wealthy, Lady Susanna Macalister’s marriage prospects are rather lacking. Unwilling to let an opportunity pass her by, she decides a loveless marriage is better than spinsterhood, as it will allow her to continue her charities. The life of Ian Carlisle, the Earl of Westcott, has been overshadowed by darkness and guilt for the past decade. Having abandoned his family when he was eighteen, Ian’s position within a secret division of the government has provided him an escape from the guilt he feels over the death of his sister. When the Earl's horse almost tramples Susanna in the middle of Hyde Park, Ian embraces the chance encounter as a possibility for redemption, for Susanna’s soon-to-be fiancĂ© is the man Ian holds responsible for the death of his sister. Can this damaged lord hope to absolve the guilt he feels for failing his beloved sister by saving this vibrant, and unsuspecting lady from a similar fate? And will this charity-minded well-bred lady, who is not the perfectly bound book as Ian assumes, be willing to take a chance on the unstable earl, when something more dignified and permanent is well within reach?
Erica Taylor - author

Learn more about A SUITABLE AFFAIR at Erica's website

Pre-order A SUITABLE AFFAIR on Amazon here.

ABOUT ERICA TAYLOR
Erica Taylor is a mother of two and military wife married to her high school sweetheart. Raised in the mountains of Colorado, she holds a BA in History from the University of Colorado. Erica has been writing stories since she can remember, picked up her first romance novel while on a beach vacation as a teenager, and fell in love with falling in love, with sexy heroes and the feisty women who challenge their lives. A self-confessed geek, Erica loves anything Harry Potter, Doctor Who or Star Wars, can spend hours in Target with a Starbucks, and truly believes a cat makes a home. Currently living in South Africa, Erica can often be found writing during soccer practice or piano lessons and is not afraid to let dinner burn if it means getting the story out of her head.
www.EricaTaylorAuthor.com
Twitter: @EricaTayor

Monday, April 3, 2017

RE-RELEASE: Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know Of)


F.J.R Titchenell's re-release of her YA Horror-Comedy, CONFESSIONS OF THE VERY FIRST ZOMBIE SLAYER (THAT I KNOW OF), is here: April 4th, 2017!  

Teaser:
The world is Cassie Fremont’s playground. Her face is on the cover of every newspaper. She has no homework, no curfew, and no credit limit, and she spends her days traveling the country with her friends, including a boy who would do the chicken dance with death to make her smile. Life is just about perfect—except that those newspaper headlines are about her bludgeoning her crush to death with a paintball gun, she has to fight ravenous walking corpses every time she steps outside, and one of her friends is still missing, trapped somewhere in the distant, practically impassable wreckage of Manhattan.

Still, Cassie’s an optimist, more prone to hysterical laughter than hysterical tears, and she’d rather fight a corpse than be one. She’ll never leave a friend stranded when she can simply take her road trip to impossible new places, even if getting there means admitting to that boy that she might love him as more than her personal jester. Skillfully blending effective horror with unexpected humor, this diary-style novel is a fast-paced and heartwarming read.

Review quotes:

“Heartbreak, humor, a very large number of crushed skulls and even romance ensue . . . . Readers who don’t mind a little brain spatter on the windshield will be happy they took this particular trip.” —Kirkus Reviews.

“You know when you read a book about teens and you think the author just didn’t get it? Well, F.J.R. Titchenell gets video gaming, paintballing, Vespa riding, teenage tomboy angst, true love, the uses of theater paint—oh, and killing zombies.” —Lehua Parker, author of the Nene Award-nominated Niuhi Shark Saga.

“The story is fast, filled with dark humor, and lots of blood and guts.” —All Things Urban Fantasy.

Listings, pre-order and order links:
Barnes and Noble
iBooks
Kobo
Smashwords
Indigo

Amazon

F.J.R. Titchenell is an author of young adult, sci-fi, and horror fiction. She graduated with a B.A in English from California State University, Los Angeles, in 2009 at the age of twenty, is represented by Fran Black of Literary Counsel, and currently lives in San Gabriel, California with her husband and fellow author, Matt Carter, and their pet king snake, Mica.

The "F" is for Fiona, and on the rare occasions when she can be pried away from her keyboard, her kindle, and the pages of her latest favorite book, Fi can usually be found over-analyzing the inner workings of various TV Sci-Fi universes or testing out some intriguing new recipe, usually chocolate-related.

Social media links:
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Goodreads

Sunday, April 2, 2017

APRICOT CHICKEN RECIPE

Photo Credit: http://www.msflourgirl.com (recipe on this link different from recipe below)
I attended a women's conference and an amazing apricot chicken was served for the luncheon. I love chicken, and I love apricot, so combining the two makes one heavenly dish. Here's the recipe:


APRICOT CHICKEN (this is also fantastic on the grill - just cook for half the time)
Marinate 10 boneless skinless chicken thighs for 1 hour to overnight in marinade below:
3/4 cup oil
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash original seasoning
Drain off marinade and pat dry with paper towel. Fold sides of thighs into each other and stuff into muffin tins. Bake on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees F for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make the apricot glaze:
1/2 cup apricot preserves
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Bring to a boil in sauce pan and boil for 1 minute. Remove cooked chicken from muffin tins, draining off any liquid, and place on a 9x13 pan. Pour glaze over chicken and return to oven for 5-10 minutes.