Saturday, November 22, 2014

NEW RELEASE for FAY LEE

Musa Publishing is thrilled to announce the short story Colonists Like Us, a LGBTQ by Fay Lee, is now available.



Love is natural. So is fear.

When you have a sister as special as Emmy-Lou, you'll do anything to protect her—even sign up to colonize an empty planet, far from Earth and someone to touch, to hold or to love.

No-one could have predicted the consequences of that decision.

But when love turns to fear, when humanity's future lies in the balance, when you may be the only one to guess the truth… Who will you turn to?

BUY LINK

Friday, November 21, 2014

NEW RELEASE for RITA MONETTE

Musa Publishing is excited to announce The Curse at Pirate's Cove, Book 2 of the The Nikki Landry Swamp Legend Series by Rita Monette, is now available for purchase.

When one man's treasure is another man's curse.

It's her birthday, and eleven year old Nikki Landry is looking forward to riding her bike to school, now that she’s old enough. But her old bike doesn't make it very far before breaking down. When she hears about a legend that there might be buried treasure on a nearby swamp island, she sees a way to get a new one. But when she makes a birthday wish for the pirate, Jean Lafitte's gold, things go terribly wrong. Join Nikki and her friends as they encounter ghostly pirates, who whisk them away aboard their ship to the year 1814. How will they ever find their way back?

EXCERPT
“How do you know it’s a pirate ship?”

“It has to be, Nikki. Listen.” He turned toward me. “I was out at Uncle Luke’s this past weekend, and he told me all about it.”

“I ain’t believing there’s no pirate ship out in those swamps.” I lifted my chin.

“Just hear me out, Tomboy.” He sounded impatient. “There’s a legend that goes along with it, see.” He leaned toward me and lowered his voice. “There might even be a curse.”

“A legend?” He had my attention. I prided myself in being a super legend buster ever since I solved the one about Ghost Dog Island last year. I even got my picture in the newspaper. “Well, tell me about it.”

“I’m trying to.” He waved his hands in the air.

We propped ourselves against a couple of large limb sand got out our lunch bags.

“Uncle Luke says he first heard about it back when he was a kid. He says a friend of his grandfather, by the name of Beco, was out trapping on Fog Island with his buddy Clamare. They came across this here hole in the ground with a half-buried wooden chest, see. It had a big old lock on it. There was a couple of coins in the dirt, so Clamare picked them up and slipped them in his pocket. Beco decided he’d go back for some tools and shovels to dig the rest of it out, and told Clamare to stay there and watch the chest. On his way out to the edge of the island, he saw this ragged old ship.Thinking it was kind of odd looking for being in the swamps and all, he got a little closer. It had a broken mast and raggedy sails.” He poked me with his elbow .“When was the last time you ever saw a fishing boat with sails?”

I shook my head. “Never.” I unwrapped a peanut butter and jam sandwich and took a bite. “What’d he do?”

“Well, he started to board it, see?” Spikes dug into his own lunch bag. “But then he heard some talking coming out of the boat. He stopped right then and there, ’cause he didn’t know who might be on that old wreck out in the middle of nowhere, and there weren’t no other boats around.This one had a big old hole in the hull, so it couldn’t have sailed there on its own. At least anytime in recent history.”

“Then what?” I licked some of the jam off my fingers.

“Then someone stuck his head up over the bow, see. He had on one of them three pointed hats that pirates always wore. Old Beco yelled a big hello, and the man took out a pistol and shot over his head. Well, Beco took off right then and there. That night, he went down to T-Noon’s bar and got drunk, and told some other fellows about it. The next day, they all went back out to the island with shovels, and brought guns just in case that crazy guy in the boat was still there.”

“Was he?” I asked.

“Nope. The ship was gone, and so was Clamare.”

“What about the treasure?”

“They never could find it. Not even the hole it was in.”

BUY LINK

To read an excerpt from Book 1 of the series, The Legend of Ghost Dog Island, please click a vendor's name Musa Publishing Amazon.


Rita Monette was born and raised in Southwest Louisiana. After retiring from her “real” job as an administrative assistant, Rita began doing what she always wanted to do…write and paint. Five long years later, Musa Publishing offered her a contract for her debut middle grade novel, The Legend of Ghost Dog Island, which also includes her artwork. Her stories are set in the beautiful, yet mysterious, bayous and swamps of her home state. Rita now resides with her husband, four lap dogs, and one lap cat, in the mountains of Tennessee.

Learn more about Rita Monette on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Coordinating Conjunctions Got You Down?

Coordinating Conjunction
Take a Tip from Helen #16

by Helen Hardt

Not any more. Yes, you can begin a sentence with a coordinating conjunction!

Your high school English teacher may want to have me horse whipped, but you are not breaking any grammar rules by beginning a sentence with a conjunction. Even CMOS agrees (see CMOS 5.191.)

If you decide to begin a sentence with a coordinating conjunction, keep these three things in mind:

1 - Be sure that a main clause follows the coordinating conjunction.
2 - Do not use a coordinating conjunction to begin every sentence. Use this option only when it makes the flow of your ideas more effective. If you use it too often, it loses its effectiveness.
3 - Do not use a comma after the coordinating conjunction. Coordinating conjunctions are not transitional expressions like for example or first of all. You will rarely use punctuation after them.

Here are some examples:
While I was answering the telephone, Buster, my cat, jumped onto the kitchen counter and swatted all of my jalapeño-stuffed olives onto the dirty kitchen floor. So I had to rinse off the cat hair and crumbs sticking to these delicacies before I could add them to the salad.

Flying down the bumpy path, Genette hit a rock with the front wheel of her mountain bike, flew over the handlebars, and crashed into a clump of prickly palmetto bushes. Yet even this accident would not deter her from completing the race.

A comma is an option only when an interrupter immediately follows the coordinating conjunction. The following example could go either way. My personal preference is without the comma. The less punctuation for the reader to stumble over, the better.

We hoped that decorating the top of Christine's cupcake with a dead grasshopper would freak her out. But, to our amazement, she just popped the whole thing in her mouth, chewed, and swallowed.

~Helen

To read excerpts from Helen Hardt's books please click a vendor's name.
Musa Publishing - Amazon


Helen Hardt is the Head Line Editor for Musa Publishing and a freelance editor. She is also an award-winning author. Helen writes contemporary, historical, paranormal, and erotic romance for several publishers. Her non-writing interests include Harley rides with her husband, attending her sons’ sports and music performances, traveling, and Taekwondo (she’s a blackbelt.)

Learn more about Helen Hardt and her editing service on her website.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Why I Write? It’s All About Calvin.

by Iris Woodbury

I’ve read lots of articles on the theory of writing. You know, the hook, the ending, character development, show vs. tell etc. etc. bla bla bla. All good things and each one dismissed at your peril. But that’s not what I wanted to blog about today. Not the how, but the why.

I love writing. I especially love the middle part because when I’m there, I’m hunting for the end. Like many writers, I go in with a concept, but once the characters start living and breathing, the story can take twists and turns I never expected. And suddenly, there you are, half way through your latest work and you’re like shit, my endings not going to work!

SO WHAT DO YOU DO? I know some writers just write and write and write, feeling their way back to the path, and judging by countless books I’ve read, somehow they make it through. But you can feel this phase in their writing. No matter how great the overall story is; when you reach that point, wherever it is, you feel lost.

Perhaps I’ve got a mutant gene, I don’t know, but when I’m there I sort of slow down and listen to my characters. It’s around that time that my muse buddy, Calvin, generally shows up. He whispers something in my ear, breathing a special word that mysteriously pops into my head and suddenly POOF, everything is clear.

Perhaps you can relate. I guess it’s like the thrill of the chase, because when Calvin sprinkles his magic juju beans, it’s like the fire has returned; the one that sparked when the initial concept first arrived unannounced in my head. And that is why I write. Because when Calvin comes, and he’s as regular as clockwork, I know there is true magic in the world, and I get my writer’s high. I love it.

Thanks for reading,
Iris

Here's a little from The Beryllium Chalice. I hope you enjoy it.

"When sacrifice of blood is made,only then allegiance it will trade"

Flora, a dryad accused of murder and exiled from Mount Olympus…

Kytos, a battle-weary warrior who follows orders and believes the gods can’t be wrong…

Redwood, a fun-loving and perpetually aroused satyr…

What could these three possibly have in common? The Beryllium Chalice, the source of all life and power on Mount Olympus. With the chalice stolen from Mount Olympus by Hades, the other gods will weaken and Hades will be free to overthrow them and take control of the world. The only thing standing between the God of Death and his treacherous scheme are Flora, Kytos, and Redwood. They must band together to steal back The Beryllium Chalice and return it. In spite of their differences, can the three companions get the chalice and return it to Mount Olympus in time to save the gods and the world?

To read an excerpt from The Beryllium Chalice click here or here.

Iris Woodbury was born in London, England and currently lives in Maryland. She writes fantasy, fairy-tales, and romance. She loves nothing so much as a dusty old book except maybe an electronic new one. Iris is an avid cocoa worshipper and tea sipper - and a friend to all things of beauty. Her books include The Beryllium Chalice and Murder to a Tea. Iris is also a contributor the children's anthology, Read It Again, published by Alfie Dog Fiction.

Learn more about Iris Woodbury on her website.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

TIME FOR A FEAST

by Sloane Taylor

Each Thanksgiving we have at least twenty people for a sit-down dinner. I cook the meal and the guests supply the appetizers, deserts, and wine. So turn on the football game and let’s start cooking!

Roast Turkey
Stuffing
Mashed Potatoes
Candied Sweet Potatoes
Sautéed Broccoli
Corn
Cranberry Sauce
Gravy
White Wine – Riesling


Roast Turkey
Turkey
Butter
2 leeks including some green - chopped
2 large onion - chopped
15 baby carrots - chopped
4 tomatoes – chopped
1 tbsp. dried thyme
1 tbsp. dried marjoram
1 large bay leaf
Bacon strips to cover breast
Chicken stock

Disposable pan
Cooking rack
Cookie sheet – for stability

Place unopened turkey on a cloth lined cookie sheet and thaw in refrigerator 7 hours per pound or one day for every four pounds of frozen turkey.

Thanksgiving Morning:
If turkey’s not completely thawed, set in a large pot of cold water to complete. Dispose of packet inserted in cavity. Rinse well, then pat dry with paper towels.

Preheat oven to 325°F.
Cooking times:
10 – 18 lbs. 2 - 2½ hrs.
18 – 22 lbs. 2½ - 3 hrs.
22 – 24 lbs. 3 - 3½ hrs.

Melt 1 stick of butter in a large frying pan. When the foam subsides, lay the turkey on its side breast down. Brown the breast until golden, first one side then the other. Be careful moving the turkey around, it’s heavy and awkward.

Set disposable pan on cookie sheet. Insert cooking rack. Add chopped vegetables. Place turkey on rack breast up. Lay bacon slices over breast to cover well. Pour in enough chicken broth to cover the pan bottom by 1 inch. Cover the turkey and pan edges with aluminum foil, crimping the sides well.

Remove from oven at the predetermined time. To test if the bird is done, use a paper towel or pot holder and shake hands with its leg. The leg should move freely. If you use a meat thermometer it should read 185° when inserted in the thigh. For an accurate reading, be sure not to touch bone. Tent with foil and allow to rest 30 - 45 minutes before carving.

Stuffing
1 package bread stuffing cubes plain or seasoned
½ pound Jimmy Dean Original Sausage in the tube
1 rib celery chopped
½ medium onion chopped
1 stick butter
Chicken stock about 2 cups maybe a little more
1 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 egg

The stuffing may be prepared a day or two in advance up to the baking point.

Fry sausage, breaking into small chunks until lightly brown.

Melt butter in a medium size skillet. When the foam subsides add the celery and onion. Sauté 3-4 minutes, be careful not to let it brown.

Empty bread cubes into a large bowl. Add sausage and vegetables with all their juices. Mix well.

Beat egg in a small bowl. Pour onto stuffing. Sprinkle sage and thyme across the top. Mix well.

Stir in chicken stock until mixture is very moist, but not soupy.

Spoon into baking dish, do not pack in, and cover tightly with foil. (This is your stopping point if you make this before Thanksgiving. Refrigerate the stuffing until you are ready to bake it.)

Thanksgiving Day:
Remove stuffing from the refrigerator early in the day to allow it to come to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Bake the stuffing for a half hour. Remove foil and continue to bake until the top has browned.

Mashed Potatoes
1 small russet potato per person
Chicken stock
Butter
Sour cream
Milk
Pepper

The Day Before:
Pour one inch chicken stock into saucepan. Peel and quarter the potatoes, then place in saucepan. Add tap water to cover by one inch. Put a lid on the pan and bring to a boil over medium heat, then lower temperature to a strong simmer. Cook approximately 25 minutes. Test for doneness by poking a fork into a potato. It should insert easily.

Drain potatoes. Mash well without adding other ingredients. Cool completely in a glass or ceramic bowl. Cover and refrigerate.

Thanksgiving Day:
Remove potatoes from the refrigerator early in the day to allow them to come to room temperature. When you are ready to serve, microwave potatoes until hot. Stir in butter, sour cream, milk, and pepper to the consistency you prefer.


Candied Sweet Potatoes
32oz. can of sweet potatoes - my favorite is Royal Prince Candied Sweet Potatoes
½ cup brown sugar firmly packed
1 stick of butter
1 cup mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Drain the potatoes in a colander. Cut large pieces in half. Lay potatoes into a 13x9 inch glass baking dish.

Sprinkle brown sugar across the top, then dot with butter.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Scatter marshmallows over the yams and bake for 15 minutes or until the marshmallows are brown.

Services 8.

Broccoli Stir-fry
4 mini carrots sliced on an angle
½ cup olive oil – possibly more
½ medium onion sliced
1 inch piece gingerroot peeled and cut into strips
1 head broccoli trimmed and cut into florets
½ small sweet red pepper cored, seeded and cut into strips
½ small yellow pepper cored, seeded and cut into strips
2 large garlic cloves pressed
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
2 green onions sliced on an angle
5 mini Bello mushrooms cleaned and sliced into thirds
1 tbsp. lime or lemon juice

Have all the ingredients prepped and on the counter before you begin cooking.

In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add onion, carrot and gingerroot. Sauté until carrot is almost soft. Test by inserting a toothpick into the carrot. Remove as many gingerroot pieces as you can find. Don’t worry if some are left in the pan.

Add broccoli, red and yellow peppers, and garlic. Sprinkle on red pepper flakes. Stir constantly to insure broccoli is well coated with the oil. Add more oil if necessary. Squeeze on the lime or lemon juice. Sauté 2 - 4 minutes, but be sure the broccoli and peppers still have crunch to them.

Blend in green onions and mushrooms. Sauté until mushrooms are heated through. Serve quickly.

Serves 4 – 6 so adjust accordingly.

From the corn through the gravy it shows you just how lazy I can be on holidays.:) 
Corn
1 can of corn per 4 people – my favorite is Green Giant Niblets
butter

Drain corn, then pour into micro wave safe bowl. Lay 2 or 3 pats of butter across the top. Micro wave for 3 minutes, stir and serve.

Frozen corn:
Follow package instructions

Cranberry Sauce
1 can of sauce per 6 people – my favorite is Ocean Spray Jellied

Lay the sauce into a serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerator until ready to serve.

Gravy
1 jar of gravy for 4 people - my favorite is Heinz Home Style Gravy Roasted Turkey

Pour the gravy into a saucepan. Stir in a few tablespoons of the juice from the roasted turkey pan. Heat through and serve.

I'll be back Monday. Until then...

Happy Cooking!

~Sloane

Award-Winning author Sloane Taylor believes humor and sex are healthy aspects of our everyday lives and carries that philosophy into her books. She writes sexually explicit romances that take you right into the bedroom. Being a true romantic, all her stories have a happy ever after.

Her books are set in Europe where the men are all male and the North American women they encounter are both feminine and strong. They also bring more than lust to their men’s lives.

To read excerpts from the erotic romances by Sloane Taylor, please click HERE.

Learn more about Sloane Taylor on her website, and her blog for easy recipes. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Easy Deviled Eggs

by Sara Daniel

I love to eat deviled eggs—as long as someone else makes them! But as I approached my fourth decade of life, I realized maybe I need to cross this item off my bucket list even though the creation seemed way too complicated and fancy. I’m a busy mom with a full-time writing job. When it comes to food, I don’t do complicated or fancy.

This past spring I had a bunch of leftover Easter eggs and a whole lot of company coming over. I needed my guests to eat those eggs, so they weren’t sitting in my fridge until Halloween! So I scoured recipes online (Thanks Google!) and simplified the simplest recipe. I haven’t figured out a way to simplify peeling hard boiled eggs, but once I got past that part, these eggs were easy-peasy to make.

Easy Deviled Eggs
1 dozen hard boiled eggs
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp. honey Dijon mustard
Paprika

Peel hard boiled eggs. (Muttering and cursing is optional, but I find the eggs respond better to threats and bad temper!)

Slice eggs lengthwise. Scoop yolks into a bowl. Mash yolks, mayonnaise, and mustard together.

Scoop mixture with a small spoon into egg white halves. (If you want to use some fancy thing to make pretty, complicated designs, knock yourself out!)

Sprinkle with paprika. Cover with cling wrap and store in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve.

Like me, the heroine of Wyatt’s Guilt makes work her priority over food, but I think Nicole should give these eggs a try too!

Here is a short intro to one of my favorite books.

Nicole trusted Wyatt with her heart once. She won’t make the same mistake twice.

Nicole DeMonde’s car breaks down the moment she returns to her hometown for her brother’s wedding. The cop who stops to help her is none other than local hottie Wyatt Truman, who slept with her then dumped her when they were teens. She has no choice but to accept his help. However, she knows better than to trust him with her heart twice.

Wyatt is determined to earn Nicole’s forgiveness and make amends for his callous past. Once he lays eyes on her, he can’t help wanting a lot more than forgiveness, despite his intention never to hurt her again.

Just as Wyatt starts thinking his best intentions are of the forever variety, Nicole decides to work Wyatt out of her system with a one night stand. Can either of them make peace with the past in a single weekend, let alone survive with their hearts intact?

To read an excerpt from Wyatt's Guilt, please click HERE.

To read excerpts from other books by Sara Daniel please click a vendor's name Musa Publishing - Amazon.



Sara Daniel writes what she loves—irresistible romance, from sweet to erotic and everything in between. She lives her own happily-ever-after romance with her hero husband.

Learn more about Sara on her website and blog. Subscribe to Sara’s newsletter.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

THREE MINUTES with ARABELLA SHERATON

Where did you get the idea for The Reluctant Bridegroom?
I wanted to write something that kicked against the common theme of Regency women desperately needing husbands. My hero also does not want to settle down and get married; he’s having too much fun being a bachelor. My heroine has really determined ideas about how she wants to carve out a future: by making her own choices and not having someone else dictate how/when/who she marries. I should add, “if” she marries. Luckily, she will inherit money and doesn’t actually need to get married.

How did you develop your lead characters?
I have to confess that generally my characters get the bit between their teeth and run off in the direction they choose. I don’t have any trouble with character development – they seem to do it all themselves, as if just the fact of me writing things down is enough to unleash their full potential. Sometimes characters just arrive on the scene with a worthy dollop in interest to add to the plot.

What drives you to write Regency romances?
I wrote my first Regency romance (The Dangerous Duke) to entertain my mum who loved Regency romances and couldn’t get enough of them. It was also something of a challenge writing in a new genre. But the best part is they are so much fun! I love creating witty dialogue, and because the main characters are constricted by social convention, writers have to find other ways of developing a sparkling romance other than jumping into bed. The ideas just seem to arrive and, once I decide upon a title, well, the story follows suit.

Here is a brief introduction to The Reluctant Bridegroom.

The young and handsome Earl of Wenham has no intention of marrying soon, but fate thrusts him into the arms of Miranda Lavenham, who despises him.

The handsome Earl of Wenham has no intention of marrying any time soon. His sister Almeria, some fifteen years his senior, feels duty bound to point out to Hugo that he owes it to the title and the estates to marry and produce an heir. Failure to do so means the entire lot devolves upon his second cousin, the Honourable Felix Barstowe. She also reminds him that their father had promised an old friend, Lord Lavenham, that his son should marry Lord Lavenham’s daughter, Miranda. Out of respect for his father’s dying promise (which he had never taken seriously), the earl sets off for Lavenham House. He is stranded by snow a few miles away from his destination and takes refuge in a local inn. He meets up with a heavily veiled, mysterious young woman, who, by her confidences to him, he realises is the elusive Miranda. To his shocking surprise, the feisty Miranda declares she has never heard of the Earl of Wenham’s glorious reputation and will not have anything to do with someone whom she declares, “is possibly so fat and gouty, that he needs to have a wife found for him.” In fact, she would rather run away with a childhood friend than have anything to do with the “ridiculous” Earl of Wenham. Intrigued, the earl makes it his business to get to know Miranda better by inviting her to stay in London with his sister. Unfortunately, this strategy annoys his dandyish cousin Felix Barstowe who is determined that the young and healthy earl should not marry and cheat him out of his birthright. Will Felix succeed in a dastardly plan to murder his cousin?

To read an excerpt from The Reluctant Bridegroom please click here.

To read excerpts from Arabella Sheraton's other Regency novels please click a vendor's name Musa Publishing - Amazon.

Arabella Sheraton is a prolific Regency author. Learn more about her and the World of Regency Romance on her website.