Archive | February 2014

Winter Chill – Delicious Chili by A J Best

From Christina: Bet you didn’t know that today is National Chili Day! I wouldn’t have known it either if my buddy A J Best hadn’t sent me a calendar listing lots of little known holidays and celebrations.  She’s a delightful friend, one who’s always willing to share. One cold winter’s morning, as we chatted online about food and recipes, she shared a simple, but delicious recipe for — wait for it — CHILI!  So, when I scanned the list of February’s “special days” and saw National Chili Day, I quickly asked AJ if she’d share the recipe again with Time for Love readers.

Winter Chill – Delicious Chili

By A J Best

Winter. It’s supposed to be pristine, white, sparkly and beautiful. Children are supposed to be outside playing Norman Rockwellesque, all happy and smiling. But if winter where you are is anything like winter where I am is, it’s a little grey and dreary. Here in the middle of the middle of nowhere, it’s <expletive removed> cold!

 

Winter Image from Tami

 

 So, what does a homebody do when it’s miserably cold and the family is stuck in front of the TV/computer? She makes chili! Come into my kitchen and I’ll show you how to make chili the easy way. You’ll be back in front of the fire cuddled with a book in no time.

 Super Simple Chili Recipe

1 pound ground meat (turkey, venison, beef, etc.)

2 cans beans (dark/light red kidney, black beans, etc.)

1 large can of diced tomatoes

1 jar salsa (in any heat level you choose, we go mild because of the kids)

Brown ground meat. If it’s a fattier type meat, drain grease. Open cans with can openers, open jar with hands. Pour cans, undrained, into pot. Pour salsa into pot. Stir. Eat.

* * * *

Really, it’s that easy. No muss no fuss.

I’d love to know what comfort foods you make when it’s just too bloody cold to go outside. Leave the recipe, I’d love to try it.

On Becoming a Butterfly

It happens at least once each week — usually more often. I’ll be casually scrolling my way through post after post on Facebook, wading though a tireless stream of book promotions, personal rants and health updates, when suddenly my attention is caught by something beautiful.

My latest special find is this:

Butterfly

I fell in love with the image, the quote, and the inspiration contained in these few, simple words. At once, I was off on a search, curious about the author, Trina Paulus.

My first on-line searches turned up little information, only an additional quote about butterflies and flowers. Surely there must be more!

Hope for the Flowers

A little more searching finally led me to Goodreads, to Trina Paulus herself, and to an inspiring book first published over forty years ago. Sometimes I wonder where I’ve been in recent years. How could I have completely missed this little jewel?

From Goodreads:

 “Hope for the Flowers” is an inspiring allegory about the realization of one’s true destiny as told through the lives of caterpillars, Stripe and Yellow, who struggle to “climb to the top” before understanding that they are meant to fly.

I searched out the author profile to learn more and came across a delightful lady who believes in hope.  She describes her book as a novel “for adults and others  — including caterpillars who can read.”  She is an advocate of organic farming, composting, holistic health, and spiritual search.

Now on a quest to learn as much as possible about Trina Paulus, I discovered her website:

Hope for the Flowers

Let’s talk for a moment about this whole process of becoming a butterfly. It’s a scary thing, really, at least it surely must be when seen from the perspective of a lowly caterpillar. How frightening to think of soaring through the sky, of having to rely on a pair of fragile wings to keep from falling!

Oh, yes, how much easier instead to remain a caterpillar, to inch our way over the earth, maybe now and then dreaming about flying, but feeling safer and so much more secure in our comfortable skin.

Change is a fearsome thing, indeed. We yearn for it, but so often, we let our worries and doubts stand in the way. I’ve often heard it said that change only comes when “the pain of not-changing” becomes too great to bear. Sometimes, they seems to be true.

I’d like to think of change in a more positive sense, as something beautiful that comes into our lives, something good that we can create if we’re willing to let go of old ways.

To bring about true, lasting change — to reach for the skies and live our dreams — we really must have that desire to fly, a desire so strong that we are willing to give up being caterpillars.

Scary? Frightening? Fearsome? Change can be all of this…and more. It can also be awesome, incredible, wondrous, and beautiful.

And yes, I’ve already ordered a copy of the book.

Readers’ Choice Award – February Titles

Now that you’ve had a chance to look over the blurbs and book covers on the “25 Words or Less” feature, what books have intrigued you?

TFLRCA January 2014

Please vote for your favorite and the book selected will be featured as a “Reader’s Choice” next month. You may vote for up to three titles, but you can only vote once. Book titles will appear in random order. Voting is now open and will run for one week. You will be able to see the results after you’ve voted.

If you’d like to review the covers and blurbs, please click HERE.

Note: Comments are closed on this post.

Winter Thoughts

Most of the posts you’ll find at Time for Love are from guest authors, all of whom have become dear friends. I appreciate each author who has taken time from her busy schedule to share a few thoughts here.

From time to time I like to share a few words of my own, as well. With the romantic Valentine’s holiday past, and  February now winding down, I thought I’d pop in here for a moment.

Sun on PinkThe last few days have been a welcome break in the miserably cold winter we’ve had here in the midwest. Although thunderstorms struck yesterday afternoon and on through the night, the temperatures have been well above freezing — hitting as high as the 50’s and 60’s (Fahrenheit). So much better than the far-below-zero temperatures and wind chills we’ve experienced in recent weeks.

Weather forecasters are warning us that winter is not over yet, and I know more cold is coming. Probably more ice and snow, as well.

But I’m not going to think about the cold right now. I’m going to go right on thinking about those glorious rays of sunshine that brightened recent days.

The friendships I’ve made are rays of sunshine in my life, too. I love the warmth and comfort friends have offered, the bright, encouraging outlook my friends have given me, and the glowing words of kindness so many have shared.

In return, I want to once more say “Thank you” to my friends — authors and readers, alike. I’d like, too, to remind each one of you to cherish the friends in your lives.  Friends do warm the heart, just as sunshine warms even the coldest of winter days.

My Winter Deuce by Decadent Kane

From Christina: I’ll have to admit, when I first received this “winter reflections” post from Decadent Kane, I was shaking my head a bit, trying to figure out exactly what a “winter deuce” might be. Read on for the answer! 

My Winter Deuce

by Decadent Kane

Winter sometimes has a way of surprising you. It sneaks up, soft, light, snowflakes edging ever closer to the ground and before you know it snow has enveloped the ground and trees casting a beautiful nature display in cool colors with a crisp air on the side.

I’m not a winter lady. I’m a summer. I love heat, the sun, swimming, not sliding down icy roads when I drive, and all the bright colors summer brings.

But winter brought me someone special. One of my fiance’s dogs had died- they were brothers, lived together their entire lives, and the one living became very depressed. He no longer had someone to be with; his brother was gone.

We went to the local kill shelter to see what might be available. Originally we were looking for a small dog. I’m not fond of dogs in general. They tend to scare me, and I was bitten in the face by one when I was 8. So I shy away from big dogs.

That’s when I saw him though…

Deuce
This chubby black puppy with white spots on his paws. He looked so little and forlorn with his baby brothers. I honestly fell in love with him. 

He wasn’t going to be released for a few days yet so everyone who was interested had to come back the day of release and it was a first come-first serve basis. I showed up early…I was waiting in the parking lot and then I got in line. There were quite a few waiting, not a ton, but several.

Once I got in they told us there were 3 puppies and so the first 3 people on the property got to go in…according to who came first. I ended up being second and when I walked back there those big brown eyes tore at me and my heart overfilled as I scooped up my little guy and set forth with him.

I named him Deuce.

And then I realized as I started looking up information on his breed that my little puppy wasn’t going to end up so little…

He’s a mastiff mutt mix.

Right now, almost 2 years later, if he stands up, he is taller than me. He walks at my hip height and weighs more than I do.

He’s my little lap dog. Maybe winter wasn’t directly the cause of me getting him, but he’s my winter Deuce either way…He adores the snow.

* * * *
Decadent Kane says that writing isn’t something she wants to do, it’s a need. Blank pages call to her — and drive her crazy.  In her words, she needs “to see words written down in my handwriting. I need to create characters, worlds, plots, ideas, dialogue.” The result of her creative madness can be found in her series, “The Trouble with Elves”, available at Amazon.

 

SHOWCASE: Author Vicki Batman

Vicki Batman describes herself as “a sassy writer of sexy and funny fiction”. That’s enough to get my attention. I love sassy, I love sexy, and most of all, I love funny.

I first got to know Vicki when she shared a few thoughts here at Time for Love during the recent holiday season. Along with thoughts, this talented, sassy woman also shared her craftiness.

Winter Holiday Crafts by Vicki Batman

Readers loved it; so did I. I wanted to know more about  Vicki, so I made a little visit to her blog. I’ll admit, the blog title had definitely piqued my curiosity.

Vicki Batman: Handbags, Books…Whatever

Handbags? Yes, handbags. She’s got quite a collection of them. But, I’ll let her tell you about those.

From Vicki:

 I adore handbags and change mine out often. Going to church, out for the evening, need a tote to carry more stuff. Whatever.

I came to love handbags over a very simple thing–shoes. Lots of women will elaborate on how much they LOVE shoes. I, however, have small feet–size 7 narrow. That particular size is very hard to come by; so I don’t have lots of shoe candy. I turned my eye to handbags. Much to Handsome’s dismay, I have seven shelves. In my own defense, I have one I kept from high school.

I love to go to flea markets and antique malls. There, I have found bags for as little as $3.00. I’d much rather have four bags for ten dollars than one forty dollar bag! I’ve bought handbags from eBay and ETSY, too, particularly, needlepoint handbags. Everyone thinks they are old lady purses. Sometimes, I add a nifty handle and totally update the look. Right now, I am ready to turn in a handbag needlepoint canvas I did. Yeah! And every time I sell something I’ve written, I treat myself to a bag.

My so-called collection includes Enid Collins jeweled bags, Margaret Smith of Maine totes, Mary Frances fancy ones, Hobo International (fine leather), Kim Smith clutches. I have vintage decoupage, various straw ones for summer, Kate Spade (yummy!), and some made from record album covers. 

* * * * * * * *

Record covers? Those, I’d like to see! What a clever idea. Readers, take note, every Monday, Vicki features handbags on her blog. Here’s the link again, in case you missed it:

Vicki Batman: Handbags, Books…Whatever

Along with being a sassy, crafty lady, Vicki is, above all, a talented and prolific writer. She kindly prepared a list of her book titles and other published works for me — sorry, Vicki, I didn’t mean to make you work so hard! Whew! This lady is one accomplished writer.

– To be determined 2014, The Wild Rose Press, Temporarily Employed

– To Spring 2014, WordForest, “Sister Act” for the Sisterhood Anthology

– To February 2014, Indie, “Bug Stuff…and Other Stories”

– To December 2013, MuseItUp Publishing, “The Great Fruitcake Bake-off”

– To March 2013, MuseItUp Publishing, “San Diego or Bust”

– To February 2013, Indie, “Little Birdie Who…and Other Stories”

– To May 2012 LongandShortReviews.com, “Check Her Out”

– To August 2012 MuseItUp Publishing, “Store Wars”

– To February 2012 Ink Lion Books, “Man Theory and Other Stories”

– To December 2012 MuseItUp Publishing, “Twinkle Lights”

– To October 2011 MuseItUp Publishing, “Taking Flight,” Lavender Dreams anthology

– To June 2011 LongandShortReviews.com, “Tommy and the Teacher”

– To April 2011 Noble Romance Publishing, “I Believe”

– To February 2011 True Love, “The Sweetest Revenge”

– To February 2011 True Love, “Valentine’s Day Misery”

– To December 2010 True Love, “Candy Cane Twist”

– To December 2010 True Confessions, “Breaking Free”

– To October 2010 True Confessions, “Wedding Day Disaster”

– To September 2010 True Love, “Drive My Car”

– To September 2010 True Love, “I’ll Never Leave You”

– To September 2010 True Love, “When You Least Expect It”

– To August 2010 True Love, “Running to Love”

– To August 2010 True Love, “A Cake for All Seasons”

– To April 2010 LongandShortReviews.com, “Ouch”

– To January 2010 True Love, “Beyond Ordinary”

– To December 2009 True Romance, “Christmas Ties”

– To September 2009 True Romance, “Charlie’s Friend”

Vicki recently made another appearance here at Time for Love, this time sharing a few thoughts on Valentine’s Day:

Worst Valentine’s — Evah! by Vicki Batman

This became the inspiration for one of those “True Love” stories listed above. Be sure to read it and see how she got the last laugh on a fellow who obviously wasn’t good enough for her in the first place.

Many thanks to Vicki for sharing her thoughts, her crafts, and her stories with Time for Love readers. She’s a great lady, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know her.

About Vicki:

Vicki BatmanLike some of her characters, award-winning author, Vicki Batman has worked a wide variety of jobs including lifeguard, ride attendant at an amusement park; a hardware store, department store, book store, antique store clerk; administrative assistant in an international real estate firm; and a general “do anything gal” at a financial services firm–the list is endless.

 Writing for several years, she has completed three manuscripts, written essays, and sold many short stories to TRUE LOVE, TRUE ROMANCE, TRUE CONFESSIONS, NOBLE ROMANCE PUBLISHING, LONG AND SHORT REVIEWS, MUSEITUP PUBLISHING, and THE WILD ROSE PRESS.

She is a member of RWA and several writing groups and chapters. In 2004, she joined DARA and has served in many capacities, including 2009 President. DARA awarded her the Robin Teer Memorial Service Award in 2010.

 Most days begin with her hands set to the keyboard and thinking “What if??”

 

A Day of Love by Amanda Ward

From Christina: We each have special days in our lives, days filled with memories we will cherish forever. Author Amanda Ward shares one of her most memorable days…which just happens to be Valentine’s Day.

A Day of Love 

by Amanda Ward

Valentine’s Day.  A time of showing your feelings to that special someone.

In the Ward house, it is a special day for two remarkable reasons.  First off it is the very day that my husband Matthew was brought from the children’s home to live with his parents.  He was four months old. Second, it is our daughter Amy’s birthday.

What better way to celebrate this occasion than with the culmination of love?

We weren’t married at the time.  Matt lived seventy miles away and for me on a very bright February morning, instead of a smooch from my better half we had a doozy of an argument resulting in me slamming the phone down on him.  No red roses this year or a mug of tea brought in bed, nope, I was overdue, cranky and downright miserable.

Anyway fast forward later that day, at 6 that evening, I was in the front of my stepdad’s car wired up to a TENS machine that my eldest child had cranked up to full tingleness.  Both teenagers whining that they had to go to the hospital with me, and my stepfather praying that I didn’t give birth in his car.  As we got to the hospital turn off, I felt a pop, splat and heard a “Bloody hell” from my stepdad.  My waters had broken.  Combined with cries of “Ewwwww” from my teenage daughters, this was the icing on top of a really bloody awful day.

Within five minutes of getting into the hospital, seven pounds of Amy Margaret Rose made her appearance.  Her eyes wide open without crying.  Quite possibly the prettiest Valentine’s Day present I have ever had.  With one difference.  She is the present that gives me and her dad joy, day after day. (Apart from copious amounts of headaches and empty wallets)  Her dad was caught in traffic on the M25 and missed her birth by ten minutes.  He more than made up for it by panicking that there was something wrong with her, when Amy merely had hiccups.

Matt and Amy

Spending Valentine’s day, in such a manner makes me realise how short life is.  So don’t save romance, little gestures and affection for one day of the year…make each day Valentine’s day.  We do!

Cheat’s Chocolate Mousse

(From the MisAdventures of Pann Haggerty)

2 packs of ready made chocolate mousse from the supermarket

1pint of double (heavy) cream

Flaked chocolate

A chocolate of your choice…Hershey’s kiss anyone?

Whip the cream.  Fold the ready-made mousse into the cream.  After placing a chocolate at the bottom of the glass, plop over the mousse and top with flaked chocolate.  Enjoy with love.

Hugs

Manda xxxxxxxxxx

About Amanda: 

About Amanda:  Quiche loving, notebook collecting, historical anorak and avid reader.  Amanda lives in Bedfordshire, England with her husband, three children and two mad moggies.  Her bookcases are lined with romance novels and historical tomes.  She can rattle off facts on the Royal Families of Europe, and then change the subject to musicals, how amazing a cup of tea and biscuits are and the latest gossip.  Amanda shares her husband’s love of sci-fi and is an avid Dr Who fan, whilst still maintaining her love of The Waltons, Gilmore Girls and period dramas.  

Readers can contact Amanda at her blog:

Amanda J Ward – Romance Author

Click here to return to A Valentine’s Day Double Feature

Show…Don’t Tell by Ju Ephraime

From Christina: Every woman has a special heart throb, I think. Maybe a few of us have several! I know I do. While my heart and soul will always belong only to my husband, I’ll still drool over a handsome face on the silver screen, or more likely, the television screen. Today, Ju Ephraime talks about her Valentine’s crush.

Show, Don’t Tell

by Ju Ephraime

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and romance is in the air. Chocolate hearts, roses, and greeting cards are everywhere. But for me nothing will do without my true valentine. My true valentine is a man I can’t touch and can only watch on television. I watch him and my heart flutters. He’s not young, does not have a six-pack. He’s not even terribly handsome, but he knows how to use, what I’ve been told as an author, is so terribly important—show and not tell.

Boy, can that man show without ever opening his mouth once. He talks with his eyes and the tilt of his head.

Just by moving his head slightly and with the raise of an eyebrow; a squint of an eye, or a wide-eyed look, he conveys it all.

Michael Kitchen

I’m talking about the British actor, Michael Kitchen in Foyle’s War, the British detective drama television series. Phew!

For more on Michael, click here:

Michael Kitchen

 

OK, so who is YOUR secret crush? What handsome face makes your heart flutter?  Whose voice sends your head spinning with wild and crazy thoughts?

Ju

About Ju Ephraime: She describes herself as “an eternal optimist”. She’s also an avid reader and writer, especially of high heat romance. She loves a good, exciting story. You’ll find her and her many books at her blog:

Ju Ephraime

Back to A Valentine’s Day Double Feature

A Valentine’s Day Double Feature

Will you be my Valentine?

Valentine

Today, to show a little Valentine’s love, I’ve got a special treat — a double feature of romantic thoughts. That’s right! You’ll get twice the love today.

It’s like Doublemint gum, for those old enough to remember…

Double your pleasure, double your fun

Or think of it as not one, but two scoops of your favorite ice cream. Or going to a ball game for a double-header…or a theater showing a double feature.

First on the bill is author Ju Ephraime with a cute little Show, Don’t Tell. Next, Amanda Ward shares some very special Valentine’s Memories in A Day of Love.

Show, Don’t  Tell by  Ju Ephraime

A Day of Love by Amanda Ward

But why stop there? Why not indulge yourself in all the sweetness and warm fuzzies you can?  Here are quick and easy links to more Valentine posts, and as always, I’d like to thank the authors who’ve contributed and have helped make Time for Love such a fun place to be.

Valentine’s Day Musings by Tea Cooper

The Luckiest Girl in the World by A J Best

Worst Valentine’s — Evah! by Vicki Batman

Daylily Lane by V L Locey

Thank you, ladies, for sharing your thoughts! And thank you, readers, for your love and support.

Valentine’s Day Musings by Tea Cooper

From Christina: I loved this post from Australian author, Tea Cooper. I’m always excited when someone loves Valentine’s Day as much as I do, and it is with great pleasure I present Tea’s “Valentine’s Day Musings”.

Valentine’s Day Musings …

 by Tea Cooper

While I was doing some research for a historical romance, I stumbled across the ultimate Valentine … Australian love tokens or leaden hearts as they were also known. I’d never heard of them before. They weren’t solely reserved for Valentine’s Day but they belong as surely as any Valentine’s Day card, poem or love letter.

Musing1

 When This You See

Remember Me 

When  I am Far

    From Thee

 

 

 

Coins were used to create love tokens in England as early as the 1400s. At first, the coins were simply bent out of shape, usually twice, so that they could not be used as money. They were then given to a lover as a token or amulet.

When prisoners were sentenced to transportation to Australia between 1788 and 1868 it was seen as a one-way trip. Often they were imprisoned in Newgate or the hulks, rotting ships on the Thames, to await passage and during that time many of them fashioned love tokens as a memento to leave behind with their loved ones.

The National Museum in Canberra and the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney both have collections. I can’t look at them without tearing up. The messages on them tell so many stories of love.

There were also the more sophisticated leaden hearts that probably cost the poor convict his last remaining pennies…

Musing2

The engraved side shows a female figure with an anchor leaning on a rectangular structure, with two crossed hearts and a bird flying above, a ship sailing in the distance, and the text:

I love till death shall stop my breath

1802

 

And finally my two favourites because I am fascinated by the stories behind them…

A Token 

of Respect 

Given to S K. 

By J D her 

Brother in law 

April 3rd 

1816

The other side features a design of an ornate pot with crossed hearts below a border and flowers. I can’t help wonder about SK’s story and her relationship with her brother-in –law!

Willm. 

 Powell 

Manchester

1799

(with a heart engraved to one side.)

On the other side the text ‘

W.P. 

Mary Fin

 I’ve left you here for 

To complain til I 

Return to Old 

England, again.

So many untold stories!

By then I was bitten by the bug and went in search of other Australian ‘love tokens’ and I was sidetracked yet again. I found this Valentine’s Day card at the Powerhouse Museum.

Musing3

Apparently picture postcards first appeared around 1869 and marked the beginning of Valentine’s Day cards in Australia then around 1910 there was an outbreak of “vulgar” postcards and the straight-laced Australian society threatened to make the “Valentine’s Day card extinct…” Surely this couldn’t be the case!

Off I went again…. and discovered this….from the Brisbane Courier on 15th February in 1928

“Who’ll be My Valentine?”

Time was when St. Valentine’s Day brought to many a young maiden a sheaf of artistically designed missives from anonymous donors each expressing, per medium of a white dove, or the conventional heart pierced with Cupid’s dart, or, the true lover’s knot, the tenderest devotion. Yesterday was St. Valentine’s day, but the postman was not overloaded.

Alas! The patron saint of true lovers has fallen upon evil days … he is cast out from the ecclesiastical calendar … the advent of the picture post-card and the degeneration to vulgar humour dealt the custom its death blow … and this year it is safe to say that there were few of these messengers of sweet prevailment passing through the post.

Last year a determined attempt to resurrect the custom was made in England, but it is likely that the next generation will see its complete extinction.

Well, The Brisbane Courier certainly got it wrong or perhaps they just ahead of their time?  Maybe love letters, love tokens, even Valentine’s Day cards are finally destined to “complete extinction”.

How do people send their messages of love today? I can’t see a museum keeping a collection of emails, text messages, even Facebook posts. Something definitely gets lost in translation. Perhaps I’m a sentimental fool searching for immortality—I’d rather have a letter or a card or better still a love token, in the hope one day someone will look at it and tear up knowing my love truly was eternal.

This Valentine’s Day I will be sending my message handwritten with a fountain pen (yes, I still have one) on a piece of recycled paper in the hope that it will live on down the ages and the next generations will not “see its complete extinction.”

Musing4How about you? Cyber Valentine or old-fashioned romance?

About Tea Cooper: 

Téa Cooper lives in a stone cottage on one hundred acres of bushland, in the Hunter Valley. When she isn’t writing, Téa can be found haunting the local museum or chatting to the locals, who provide her with a never-ending source of inspiration. The settings for her stories range from the glittering beachside city of Sydney to small country towns and the harsh outback. Here first three contemporary romances will be available in print in February and March 2014.

Please visit her website, Tea Cooper Author. You’ll find links to her blog, and an opportunity to sign up for her author newsletter.