Many of you know Silver Valley is the fictional name for my hometown, where I’ve based my romantic suspense series Silver Valley PD from Harlequin Romantic Suspense. Today’s breeze is more like a gusty gale, knocking over trash and recycle receptacles and making my ears numb. The beautiful aspect of this is the brilliant sunshine, cosmic-blue skies, and budding trees (that are bending in the wind!). March is roaring in, and so are more Silver Valley stories. I’m getting ready to start book #5 soon, and in a few short weeks book #4 is out, Secret Agent Under Fire. I can’t wait for you to read it! Until then, enjoy this excerpt and remember, March is supposed to leave on a more gentle note.
As romance readers we all know that love is something to celebrate everyday, but I’m never one to turn down the fun, festive feeling of Valentine’s Day. Chocolate, flowers, a romantic get-away, a good movie, quiet time with my husband–any or all of the above, please! We’ve been married a, um, while and have learned that we enjoy time at home the most. The best meals can be made in one pot, and the nicest date is in front of a favorite movie (or binge-watching an agreed-upon series). If you’re looking for a romantic read, check out my books page. I took this photo of Niagra Falls last month. For more of my photos, please join me on Instagram. Love to all!
This year I am grateful for my family’s health, our willingness to spend time together, and that even though I miss having our kids close, we’ve empowered them to soar to their own destinies. Sounds so nice, doesn’t it? But in reality it’s hard, tough work, as any parent will attest. It makes me think of my mother, and her mother, and my great-grandmother, who immigrated to the U.S. when she was 14! She never saw her parents again. They loved her enough to send her off to a greater life.
With the thoughts of the love it takes to raise a family, and it being Thanksgiving, I’m sharing a gift with you–my mother’s stuffing recipe. It’s very basic and I’m sure you can find it elsewhere, but it’s her love and memories added to it that make it special for me.
Mom’s Turkey Stuffing for Thanksgiving
1-4 loaves of store-bought bread, white or wheat, torn into small pieces*
Dried Sage (in the spice container!)
One stick of butter or several tablespoons of olive oil (or a combination)*
1 white onion, chopped to your preference
3-4 stalks of celery, chopped
1-2 eggs, depending on how much bread you tore up the night before*
*what’s great about this recipe is that you can substitute gluten-free bread, corn bread, whatever works for you, as well as sub in vegan shortening for the oil/butter. It’s very adaptable. I’ve made it without eggs, too, and it’s fine.
The night before you’re going to roast the turkey, tear the loaves of bread up and put in a large stockpot or bowl. Young children especially enjoy helping with this part.
In the morning, sprinkle liberal amounts of the sage, poultry seasoning and pepper onto the bread. Put as much or as little as you think you’d like. Add a little salt to taste. Crack open an egg or two and mix with the bread (your hands work best here but then be sure to remove rings first and wash thoroughly afterwards. Raw eggs and all).
Melt the butter and saute the onions and celery until the onions are tender and opaque. Pour mixture over the bread, mixing until all of the bread has been moistened. Stuff the bird of your choice and/or bake in a separate casserole type dish, covered. If you’re only making stuffing, I’d suggest baking at 350 degrees for an hour, covered, and then maybe bake the last few minutes uncovered to brown. Please note that if you’re going to bake this stuffing in both your bird and a casserole dish, you must separate what’s going in the dish first, to avoid cross contamination from the raw turkey. When baked inside the turkey, the stuffing is crispy on the outside and deliciously moist and flavorful.
My husband and I weren’t initially sure how we’d celebrate our 30th. We decided to turn it into a history lover’s trip when he expressed a life long desire to tour the HMS Victory, Nelson’s flagship at Trafalgar.
At first I thought “yawn,” then realized that Jane Austen sights abound in the English countryside, too. And then there was London, with all the beautiful museums. Here’s a little peek at our adventure, and a reminder that we don’t need to spend a lot of money to see the world–I saw so much of the world from romance novels starting when I was (too) young. I’ve no doubt that’s what got me interested in truly seeing the world, and led to my time in the U.S. Navy. Books change lives, indeed.
Unexpected Gifts was the original, working title for my very first published book, A Rendezvous to Remember. For some odd reason that phrase has popped into my thoughts today, and I want to share that each and every one of you is an unexpected gift to me. I’d always dreamed of being a published author, but I never imagined what an absolute joy each and every reader would be to me. Whether we meet here, on my Facebook page, or at a book signing, it’s always a gift to me.
Who or what has been an unexpected gift in your life?
Silver Valley PD is my new series for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, and I’ve loosely based it upon my local area in Pennsylvania. Those of you familiar with my previous series, Whidbey Island, know that I’m inclined to sprinkle my romances with mystery and intrigue. Silver Valley PD allows me to unleash my imagination, fueled by the great law enforcement folks in my area who oblige me with their wisdom and experience. I get to write scary, tension-filled stories that also have sexy romance. What more could an author want? The first book, Her Christmas Protector, was out last November, and the latest, Wedding Takedown is available now. Thank you so much for your support, and a big shout-out to everyone who came to meet me at Cupboard Maker Books last weekend. Happy Easter to those who celebrate, and we can all indulge in a little Easter candy, right?
Exciting news–Her Christmas Protector has been chosen as a Fresh Fiction Fresh Pick! This allows romance readers to have a chance to learn about the Silver Valley Series. Please celebrate with me!
December 28, 2015
To continue the sparkle, let’s not forget all of the generous authors who shared their holiday customs and recipes with us last year. There’s something for everyone. Most of all, please remember to take time for quiet wherever you can get it. I like to brew a cup of tea every few hours or so. It gets me up from the desk and refreshed, ready to rock and roll on the next Silver Valley PD story!
I love when live and work dovetail in the least expected ways. This past week I enjoyed a beautiful drive to my hometown of Buffalo, NY, where I took my parents for a day trip to a local vineyard. Eveningside Vineyards is owned by fellow high school alumnus, Randy Biehl. Randy gave us the royal tour of his lovely winery in the midst of a Western New York autumn. It doesn’t get much better than this! As one of our classmates commented on Facebook, “wine and literature, two favorite things.”
It’s nearing the end of my promo tour this year and the best is yet to come with my next three appearances. First up, I’ll be signing tomorrow with Heidi Hormel and Karen Rose Smith at the Reader’s Cafe in Hanover PA, then I’ll be signing and speaking at the Las Vegas Readers Festival next Saturday.
I’ll be celebrating a long-held dream when I sign with Nora Roberts at her bookstore in Boonsboro, MD on December 5th. Details on all my appearances are over at my events page. I hope to meet you soon!
The Washington Romance Writers Reader and Blogger Luncheon this past Saturday marked the half-way point for my fall appearances. Let me tell you a secret: I didn’t realize how many events I’d planned until I sat down to do my calendar after RWA, my big romance author’s conference, back in July. I am an extrovert by nature so meeting readers is always a priority and fun for me. And yet…I’m needing to squeeze in some power naps here and there, and pay better attention to my food choices. I want to keep my energy up and enjoy the remaining events, not drag through them. But I digress…
If I haven’t had a chance to meet you yet, I do hope you’ll come out for one of the many exciting events I’m attending. I’m a storyteller and I write my stories for you!