Friday, July 28, 2017

Free Book - The Amulet

All titles listed as free on this blog, with the exception of my own, are at the discretion of the author/advertiser and may change status at any time. Please be sure the title is free before you download.

The Amulet
by
Effrosyni Moschoudi

This title is listed as being free on July 28th-30th, 2017. 
Again, please check the free status before downloading. 

Description:
Katie has a guardian angel . . . she just doesn't know it

The Amulet is a romantic comedy of angel magic and tantalizing descriptions of Greek food. Download it at your own peril; it'll make you feel ravenous (not to mention all loved-up!)


When Katie loses her Athens office job, a gypsy woman hands her an amulet for good luck. Next, she gets hired as hotel receptionist on the Greek island of Sifnos and everything seems perfect, except for the overbearing hotel owner, Mrs. Matina. One of the guests, heart-stoppingly handsome Aggelos, keeps saving the day whenever Katie needs help. As she falls in love, she grows all the more intrigued by him and his quirky friends, including a little girl who keeps turning up on her own. Add a psychic, half-mad elderly woman into the mix and you're in for a few laughs. Things are not what they seem in this small, family hotel and get even more complicated when the gypsy woman shows up again. Will Katie ever work out that Aggelos is a guardian angel that came with the amulet? And if she does, will she be able to keep him? It may take a miracle. But on an island as magical as Sifnos, anything is possible!



Effrosyni Moschoudi   Writer/Blogger
photoWebsite: http://www.effrosyniwrites.com
Book blog: http:/www.effrosyniwrites.com
Greek recipes: http://www.effrosinimoss.wordpress.com
Wiseintro: wiseintro.co/effrosynimoschoudi


Click here to download your copy for Kindle



Other titles available for free from this author



Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Featured - For Eva

For Eva 
by 
Jim Ferguson


Description:
‘For Eva’ is a book of poetry that varies from the provocative to the moving, on themes from the personal to the political. ‘For Eva’ contains work that has previously been published in small press and literary magazines combined with new work and unpublished pieces written over a twenty-six-year period. This is a book that speaks with a distinct Scottish identity, but do not assume that Jim Ferguson’s poetry is always traditional, to the contrary the poems take different forms. Rather than being a book of poetry, this is a collection of very individual poems.

Author Bio:   
Jim Ferguson is considered by many to be one of the best and most relevant Scottish contemporary poets, He is a committed writer who shares his skills and knowledge, encouraging others of all ages to develop and learn. Jim is also an excellent ambassador for Scottish writing, he has given hundreds of readings and public performances. Born in 1961 and based in Glasgow, Jim has been writing and publishing since 1986. Sharing his talents to inspire others, he is a Creative Writing Tutor at Glasgow Kelvin College.

Click here to buy from Amazon for Kindle

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Beautiful Photography from R. Mac Wheeler

Photography is one of my passions. I'm no good at it, but I sincerely enjoy taking photos and, every once in a while, I find a good photo to share. There are some amazing photographers out there. They know how to use their cameras to get the shot they want. They know the rule of thirds, composition, lighting, all that detail, and they pay attention to it. I'm not one of those. I shoot by feel and use the law of averages to get my photos. The more photos you take the better the odds are that you'll have a good one in there. Back before digital, this was expensive, so I limited my photo shoots. Now I can take five hundred pictures and not care if 499 of them are blurry.

I'm not sure what type of photographer my friend, R. Mac Wheeler, is, but I do know he has some beautiful shots to share. I'm lucky enough to be able to showcase some of them here, but if you want to see more all you need to do is go check out his blog. While you're there, you may want to check out his books as well. He's a very prolific author with many titles to his credit. I've not had the pleasure of reading them all, but I have read some and really enjoy his stories.  You can find his blog here: http://rmacwheeler.blogspot.com/




















Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Spearfish Falls and Mt. Roosevelt 2017

Hello everyone. I want to start this post with a little note about writing. I've been diligently working on the stand-alone and have recently made some good progress. I was starting to wonder if I should just give it up, but this new progress has rekindled the writing flame. Also, I've been working with my cover artist/formatter to make the interior of the books prettier, the covers more colorful and putting together a new omnibus. The omnibus will include the latest three books, Traces of Grey, Fragments of Grey and Edge of Grey. I'll most definitely make a post about all of this new stuff when it's available.


We recently hiked two easy trails found in the hills - The Mt. Roosevelt trail and the Spearfish Falls trail.  I've included their locations on the map in case you are in this neck of the woods and want to see what we saw. I've also included links to Black Hills Trail Addict where you can find more information on the two trails we hiked and any other trails in the hills.



This first picture was taken from inside the tower. I've also uploaded this picture to Google Maps since they didn't have any others like it.



I'm not sure what kind of plant this is but am currently researching it.


The crazy scary widow-maker!

The Friendship Tower on top of Mt. Roosevelt.

Just one of the expansive views from the trail.

Our second trail of the day was late in the afternoon so the light wasn't the best. Still I found a few places I was able to snap pictures and have them be good enough, in my opinion, to share and show off.



My phone offers a panorama option and I've been playing with it every chance I get. Here is a panorama of the falls along with some orange construction fencing. 

Part of the trail with some of the straightest trees I've ever seen.

Another shot of the falls.

One of the few orchids found in our area. Yellow lady slippers. I was introduced to these beauties when I was thirteen-years-old and a tour guide at a cave. The owner of the cave and land was so proud of them. He didn't point them out to very many people because they don't survive being transplanted and, according to him, are quite delicate. He knew of only a couple plants in the entire canyon. I worked at that cave every summer for many years and always kept my eye out for the lady slippers. It was quite the treat to find another spot in the hills where they grow.

And this... Possible field of death. I didn't get too close to the beautiful white flowering plants to be sure of an identification, but these could easily be water hemlock. We have several plants that look similar to this and not all of them are deadly, but I prefer to be cautious. The purple flowers on the bottom right are Dame's Rocket and smell wonderful!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Badlands 2017

I forgot to schedule a post for yesterday, so I threw this one together for you for this week. I hope you enjoy the pictures.

We take a trek to the Badlands of South Dakota every few years and we did that last week. We'd been across the state to visit family and took the time on the drive home to spend some time in the park. We got to see the sunset in the Badlands and that is one spectacular sight.  I managed to take a million pictures and will share some of them with you.
















Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Goose Outing

I know. The title sounds a little weird and it probably is.

As you all should know, we keep birds and my brothers have a couple of English Springer Spaniels. Jake and Zoe are birding dogs so all of our birds must be chaperoned when out away from the coop. We also have a lot of water on the place, so we thought a short trip to our little pond might be good for the geese since my brother had the dogs inside.

The geese enjoyed their short outing but were ready to go home when I was.

Just for reference I've included a picture of the geese from March 31st of this year. They grow up fast!




Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Chicken Marsala Recipe and Budget Complaints

We've been trying to save money because things are tight right now. Partly because we have the added expense of homeschooling, but I know part of the reason we seem to always be broke is that I haven't been cooking as much as I should. Going out to eat, even at McDonalds, is expensive. For a family of five, we spend at least $30 for every meal we eat away from our table. That adds up pretty quickly.

When I finally get motivated to take action I create a menu for at least two weeks and sometimes as far out as a month in advance. Then we go grocery shopping. Inevitably, we find deals on things, such as a sale on ham or pork roast, or even hot dog buns. Then my menu has to change to make sure we eat the buns before they get moldy. It's not a deal if you don't eat it. It's just money thrown away. What I really need to do is make a menu, go shopping, then adjust the menu to what we bought. That might make a tighter, more easily followed schedule.

Also, I like to try different recipes to keep things from getting boring. I have several recipes that I'd consider regulars - spaghetti is easy, but I reserve that one for when I'm not going to be home to cook. It's easy for the girls to make and I am TIRED of spaghetti. We went through a spaghetti-every-few-days phase a few years back. I make sure to keep that one on the go to list, but don't allow it too often any more. I've gotten the frequency of spaghetti down low enough that I don't completely dread the sound of it and am enjoying it again.

All that being said, I was searching for a chicken recipe. We'd found a deal on boneless, skinless chicken breasts and I'd been aching to use it up. For me, chicken seems to be the easiest thing to try as a new recipe and have at least half of my family enjoy the meal.

In my search I found a recipe for chicken marsala. I once tried my cousin's plate of chicken marsala when we ate at Olive Garden. Sadly, I did not like it. But, the recipe I found called for asparagus. If you've been following me lately, you'll know we have some wild asparagus that grows on our land and we've been harvesting it. I have an abundance of asparagus right now. It's wonderful and if I can include it into a recipe I love it. I consider it as almost free food. Around here I've seen the prices of asparagus as high as $7.99 a pound, so I always feel rich when I eat asparagus. Then, when I think about how we obtained our asparagus (for a small fee of walking around, bending down, and cutting the stalks) I feel like I'm crafty and smart, as if I'm cheating the system somehow. It gives me a giggle. "Take that! I'm eating asparagus for FREE!" Yeah, I know. I'm weird. I'm okay with it.

I had to go do a little extra shopping for marsala wine and mushrooms, but I had everything else the recipe calls for. The wine was right at $14 but I only used 3/4 cup, so I have plenty for later recipes and the mushrooms were less than $2. I figure the recipe cost me about $15 to make, and I think I might have been estimating a little high. I've attached a picture of the finished product on my plate. I hadn't even thought about taking a picture until I tasted it. Then I immediately whipped out my phone. I wanted this documented! It was YUMMY!


The recipe called for chicken - I used the boneless, skinless chicken breasts. However, she states that she also uses chicken thighs. That would cost even less than the breasts. I don't know how much I used. I had taken a package, butterflied the breasts in half to make them thinner. I should have beat them up a little to thin them out a little more, but I didn't. I just coated them in flour with some salt and pepper and then fried them up in a hot skillet with olive oil.

While I cooked the chicken I roasted the asparagus. All I did for that was cut the asparagus into small pieces. Some of our asparagus is HUGE so I cut those down even more. Then I put it all on a tin foil lined cookie sheet with some olive oil and salt and pepper. I put them in the oven at 400° for twenty minutes.

When the chicken was done cooking I took it out of the pan and then added the mushrooms and a little bit of oil. I cooked the mushrooms until they were soft and then I added the garlic. I didn't cook that too long since I tend to burn garlic when I do this. The recipe calls for 2 cloves minced. I just eyeballed some from my HUGE stash of minced garlic I keep on hand at all times.

Then I added the 3/4 cup of marsala wine. It doesn't specify, but I used sweet marsala since that was the only kind my local grocery store had. I guess there is also a dry marsala wine and I might try that someday. I followed the recipe and let it cook on high for a bit to cook off some of the alcohol. Then I added the 3/4 cup of chicken broth. Actually, I added a full can of it. It was probably closer to a cup than to 3/4 cup and might have been more than a full cup.

I let that cook down for about ten minutes. While this was going on the asparagus finished roasting and I put it on the counter to wait. Then I started cooking the pasta.

When the sauce was done (the pasta wasn't done yet) I added the asparagus. I scraped it all into the sauce, trying to be sure to get some of that salt and pepper into the sauce with the asparagus. Then I let it sit until the pasta finished. I never did add the chicken into the sauce - I forgot. I did taste the sauce and added a little more salt and pepper. You may or may not want to do this, but I recommend tasting it first. Of course, I tasted it several times before dinner time.

Then I plated it - pasta, chicken, and then drizzled the sauce with mushrooms and asparagus over the top. The sauce was very thin and I felt like I wanted more, so I will probably double it next time. I might even double the mushrooms, garlic, and asparagus.

Something I just now thought of, the recipe also calls for parmesan cheese and I forgot to use it. Oops. Next time, because there WILL be a next time for this recipe.

I'm including a link to the site that has the recipe because I don't want to claim it as my own. It isn't. I found it on Vodka&Biscuits and I will definitely be frequenting that site.

Here is a link to the CHICKEN MARSALA WITH MUSHROOMS AND ASPARAGUS recipe. She also has prettier pictures of the dish.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Demon Cycle Books

The Core 
by
Peter V. Brett

I first came across The Warded Man several years ago when I was doing research on a producer who asked to shop my books around for a TV or movie deal. Enter in my research - I wanted to know this producer's tastes. One of the books she'd also optioned was The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett. I'd not heard of the book, so I downloaded it and fell in love. I was extremely pleased she'd be interested in my books since she was also interested in a great book like The Warded Man. Of course, nothing came of her efforts with my books. I do like to dream and reminisce once in a while, though.

Brett seems a little slow in putting them out, so I've, honestly, forgotten about the series. If it weren't for my oldest daughter, it may have been a long time before I thought to look for more in the series.

When I first downloaded the books she was too young to read them so I made her hold off until she got older. These books are for a mature audience. I own the first four on audio, so she's been listening to them and informed me I need to get the next book. I was looking for a new book to read, and since she'd reminded me of the series I thought I should pick it up.

In my research, I found that book five doesn't release until October of this year, so I thought I'd share the other four and the pre-order for the next one. I have pre-ordered my copy of The Core and it should be available for me to read/listen to by October 3rd of this year, 2017.

I am including links to buy from Amazon and Audible. You can simply click on the Kindle link if you'd like to buy a Kindle version or the corresponding word for the version you prefer. I do have a link for a four book bundle that will save you some money if you plan to purchase all four for your Kindle at once.

Here is the description for the four book bundle as it is found on Amazon:

As darkness falls after sunset, the corelings rise—demons who possess supernatural powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards—symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile.

It was not always this way. Once, men and women battled the corelings on equal terms, but those days are gone. Night by night the demons grow stronger, while human numbers dwindle under their relentless assault.

Now, with hope for the future fading, three young survivors of vicious demon attacks will do the unthinkable, stepping beyond the crumbling safety of the wards to risk everything in a desperate quest to regain the secrets of the past.

Arlen Bales will pay any price, embrace any sacrifice, for freedom, and his grim journey will take him beyond the bounds of human power. Crippled by the demons that killed his parents, Rojer Inn seeks solace in music, only to discover that his instrument can be a weapon as well as a refuge. Wanting to cure the sick and injured, Leesha Paper overcomes great hardship to become a guardian of old world science, learning that what heals can also harm. Together, they will stand against the night.

Book One - The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett - Kindle - Paperback - Audio



Book Two - The Desert Spear by Peter V. Brett - Kindle - Paperback - Audio



Book Three - The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett - Kindle - Paperback - Audio


Book Four - The Skull Throne by Peter V. Brett - Kindle - Paperback - Audio

If you buy all four books separately for your Kindle the cost is $34.96, but you can buy them all in one for your Kindle for just $24.99 by clicking here:  Four book omnibus - Kindle Edition


Pre-order the fifth book - The Core by Peter V. Brett - Kindle - Hardcover - Audio