Geri's Take...

Where Geri's insights on life, love and living may provide a clue as to how a U.S. Naval Academy graduate became a romance author. She's lived it, now she writes it.

Lara Lacombe is Helping Send Books to the Military for the Holidays

Remember, you can do your part in supporting the military for the holidays. Harlequin will send one book for every 20 new subscribers the Geri Krotow Newsletter gets. Sign up here.

Author Lara Lacombe
Author Lara Lacombe

Please help me welcome the talented romantic suspense author Lara Lacombe to our holiday blog promo party! Lara and I met at RWA in San Antonio last summer when we signed our books next to each other. I know you will find her as charming as I did.

What do you make, bake, create or purchase for the holidays, Lara?

My special holiday talent is wrapping. I LOVE to wrap presents, even the oddly-shaped ones that look ungainly when wrapped. I’m the official wrapper for my family–they all bring me their gifts, and it’s doubly fun for me because I get to see what everyone is getting before the actual day. My favorite paper is the heavyweight stuff that folds nicely, but I’ll use pretty much anything–I’ve made some cute gifts using the comics section from the newspaper. (My services are cheap too–I’m happy to accept cookies as payment! :)

Check out Lara’s  December release, from Harlequin Romantic Suspense,  Lethal Lies here.

Find Lara at the usual places:

Website: http://www.laralacombe.com

Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/laralacombe1

 

Ann DeFee is Helping Send Books to the Military for the Holidays

Author Ann DeFee
Author Ann DeFee

Remember, you can do your part in supporting the military for the holidays. Harlequin will send one book for every 20 new subscribers to the Geri Krotow Newsletter. Sign up here.

Please join me in welcoming award-winning author Ann DeFee to our holiday party. Ann and I met  in the Pacific Northwest at a conference many years ago. Ann gives us a peek at her family’s experiences when they lived overseas and had an English Christmas.

What do you make, bake, create or purchase for the holidays, Ann?

As an Air Force family, we’ve had our share of “interesting” Christmas celebrations. One I particularly remember was our first Christmas in England. Let me give you a little back story on this tale. We moved to RAF Lakenheath in August, and finding housing at that time of the year, in a very rural area proved to be an adventure. Too big, too little, too far out in the country, too haunted.   As a last resort, we rented the gate house to a manor owned by a Lord and Lady–related to the queen and yes, I’m talking about that queen. It was bucolic, it was quaint, and it was like living in Barbie’s Dream House–everything was miniature, from the doors, to the rooms, to the kitchen. I kid you not, it was tiny, tiny, tiny, and to make matters worse, it was heated by a coal stove and a couple of portable propane heaters. Lord, I wanted a thermostat. I fantasized about a thermostat, instead I shoveled coal. Then along came Christmas. I moved furniture to make room for a very small tree. But I had forgotten about Christmas lights and the difference between 110 and 220. One by one, the lights met an untimely death. By that time the BX had completely sold out of anything resembling Christmas. On the morning of the 25th, we one tiny light. That was okay, but did I mention that our oven was the size of an Easy Bake oven? A turkey? Are you kidding–a small Cornish game hen was a stretch. As for a cookie sheet–no way. So I fell back on a goodie that our family loves–caramel corn. It’s hard to think of Christmas without remembering Cracker Jacks and the Gate House. Regardless of the time, place or situation, military families are incredibly flexible.   We celebrate our faith, our family and our friends.

An English Christmas Cracker Jacks recipe
1 gallon popped corn
1 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter
1/4 cup white syrup (Karo)
1/2 tsp baking soda
dash salt
Combine sugar, butter and syrup – cook 4 minutes. Stir in soda and salt. Pour mixture on popcorn, coating every kernel
Bake on cookie sheet at 200 degrees for 1 hour. Cool and break apart. Careful–it’s totally addictive!

Check out the great excerpt Ann’s giving us from A Hot Time In Texas here.

Thanks for stopping by today, Ann!

Find Ann at the usual places:

Website: www.ann-defee.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AnnDeFeeAuthor
Twitter: www.twitter.com/AnnDeFee

 

Barbara Wallace is Helping Send Books to the Military for the Holidays

Author Barbara Wallace
Author Barbara Wallace

Remember, you can do your part in supporting the military for the holidays. Harlequin will send one book for every 20 new subscribers to the Geri Krotow Newsletter. Sign up here.

Please join me in welcoming the classy, charming and always positive Barbara Wallace to our holiday blog party today. 

What do you like to make, bake or create or purchase for the holidays, Barbara?

Every year, our family celebrates Christmas morning by making crepes. It’s a fancy sounding dish that is actually pretty easy to make. The key is to have a hot pan and to watch them closely because they cook very quickly.

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup flour (our family uses King Arthur gluten free)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoons cooking oil
¼ teaspoon salt

Beat until blended. Heat a lightly greased 6-inch skillet. Spoon in about 2 tablespoons of batter, lift and tilt skillet to spread batter. Brown on one side only. Remove from heat.

Our family likes to eat them several ways. My husband and son fill them with jelly and roll them up. I like to drizzle mine with lemon butter and confectionary sugar like German pancakes. And my son’s girlfriend likes to fill them with Nutella. No matter what you fill them with, they taste terrific. Just don’t eat too many or you’ll be too stuffed to enjoy Christmas dinner!

Do you have a special military connection, Barbara? 

I don’t have anyone serving overseas…yet…but my son is a 3rd year ROTC cadet. He’ll be commissioning in the spring of 2016, and, if he has is way, will be seeing active duty that fall. Therefore, my heart is with all the parents who have a child far away from home this holiday season. I understand the special combination of pride and worry they must be feeling.

Thanks for stopping by today, Barbara!

Find Barbara at the usual places:

Website: www.barbarawallace.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarbaraTWallace

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BarbaraWallaceAuthor

 

Sheila Roberts is Helping Send Books to the Military for the Holidays

Remember, you can do your part in supporting the military for the holidays–and it’s free! Harlequin will send one book for every 20 new subscribers to the Geri Krotow Newsletter. Sign up here.

 

Bestselling Author Sheila Roberts
Bestselling Author Sheila Roberts

Please join me today in welcoming the always cheerful bestselling author Sheila Roberts. Sheila and I met when our family was stationed on Whidbey Island in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Read on to learn about her movie deal!

Sheila, please share what you make, bake, create or purchase for the holidays.

I love the holidays! Love to bake (and I have the hips to prove it!), love to decorate, and I love to entertain. I’m not a big dinner party person. Dinner parties never are more than eight people, but I love to host a big bash where we play games and steal white elephant gifts from each other.

I don’t think a party has to be fancy, with Martha Stewart style decorations and goodies. I say what makes a party perfect is the people who come to it so I don’t sweat it when it comes to the food. Party fare at Sheila’s place usually consists of punch, chips, Christmas cookies and appetizers (Brie cheese spread with apricot jam, sprinkled with sliced almonds, and wrapped in puff pastry is always showy – Bake it at 400 until it’s golden brown and the cheese is melted, then set it out with some crackers and watch it disappear.)

This year we’ll be partying a lot as Hallmark will be airing a movie this month made from my novel The Nine Lives of Christmas. So, in honor of that, let me share my easy snack mix recipe. Quick to make and disappears even quicker!

MEOW MIX FOR HUMANS (From Ambrose the Cat, star of THE NINE LIVES OF CHRISTMAS)

Mix the following together in a large bowl:

2 cups Corn Chex cereal

2 cups roasted peanuts

2 cups broken pretzels

2 cups Reese’s Pieces

2 cups white chocolate chips

2 cups M & M candies

Leftovers, if you have any, will store well in an airtight container.

Do you have any military connections, Sheila?

I married into the military. My father-in-law was a Major in the Army and my husband was in Army Intelligence when we were first married. I can’t tell you what he did though. If I did, I’d have to shoot you.

Thanks for joining us today, Sheila! You can find an excerpt to Sheila’s latest, The Lodge on Holly Road, here.

Find Sheila at the usual places:

Website:  http://www.sheilasplace.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sheila-Roberts/76502579853

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/_Sheila_Roberts

 

Jeannie Moon is Helping Send Books To Military Families for the Holidays

Author Jeannie Moon
Author Jeannie Moon

Remember, you can do your part in supporting the military for the holidays. Harlequin will send one book for every 20 new subscribers to the Geri Krotow Newsletter. Sign up here.

Today we welcome Jeannie Moon, a contemporary romance author who certainly supports the military–she writes heart-wrenching romance with military heroes. I so enjoyed reading her latest, Second Chance Hero (excerpt link below).

What’s your favorite holiday activity, Jeannie?

I love to bake around the holidays. For Christmas brunch I always bake cookies and breads, but last year my favorite new thing was a Pizzelle iron. Pizzelles are a flat wafer cookie made in a contraption like a waffle iron. My nanny and aunts on my Italian side always made them and this year I tried my hand. I don’t have a recipe because I’m still finding the perfect one, but there are all kinds on the web. This one from AllRecipes was a winner the first time out. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/pizzelles-iii/.

This year my daughters and I are having a cookie baking day. They don’t know it yet…but we are.

Do you have any military connection, Jeannie?

My father was in the Army Air Corps just after WWII. He was drafted on VJ Day! He would have gone in sooner, but my grandmother wouldn’t sign his papers allowing him to enlist. You see, during the war Nanny had five stars in her window. My dad’s five older brothers were in various branches of the military, and serving all over the world from the Pacific, to North Africa, to Europe. She wasn’t letting her youngest go any sooner than he had to.

Kim and Owen, the heroine and hero from my latest Intermix release, are both veterans. It was a story I needed to tell. 

Jeannie has provided us with an excerpt of her wonderfully romantic novel  Second Chance Hero

You can find Jeannie Moon at her website www.jeanniemoon.com   and on Facebook

 

 

Cathy Maxwell is Helping Send Books to the Military for the Holidays

New York Times Bestselling Author Cathy Maxwell
New York Times Bestselling Author Cathy Maxwell

A joyful welcome to New York Times Bestselling Author and my Romvet sister Cathy Maxwell. Cathy and I met eons ago, and are delighted to share a common bond in our past lives of Naval Intelligence. And, I happen to love her historical romances.

Cathy, please share–what do you make, bake, create or buy for the holidays?

My natural inclination is not to cook. I have to force myself to do it. I usually start off excited with the project and quickly grow disillusioned. Dragged down, actually. Lost in the bog.

This year, I found a plan in a magazine for cooking the whole holiday meal ahead. It will be like one of those turkeys in a box that grocery stores advertise but it will be of my making–

Cathy's Cookbook Shelf
Cathy’s Cookbook Shelf

Wait! Hold everything! I was going to show a picture of the cover of the magazine with the cook ahead plan, and I can’t find it. I’ve lost it. Okay, now I don’t know what I’ll do for holiday dinner. However, here is a picture of my cookbook shelf (just to let you know I’m not a complete piker, but note how many books have “easy” in the title). I will think of something . . . I hope!
We can always go out (my favorite holiday plan).

Do you have a special military connection, Cathy?

I was active duty USN, my husband was USN, my son was USN, but my daughter copped and went USCG. :-)

Cathy’s latest is The Groom Says Yes. Details here

Thanks for sharing some of your holiday spirit with us today, Cathy.

Hugs and happy wishes for a loving holiday season! –Cathy

You’ll find Cathy in the usual places:

Website: www.cathymaxwell.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cathy-Maxwell/166883240063709

Twitter:  www.twitter.com/maxwellcathy

Please help me send books to the military by signing up for my newsletter here. Harlequin is sending a book to the military for every 20 new subscriptions I receive–we are doing this together! Thank you.

 

Karen Rose Smith Is Helping Send Books to the Military for the Holidays

USA Today Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith
USA Today Bestsellng Author Karen Rose Smith

Please join me in welcoming USA Today Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith! Karen and I are in the same RWA local chapter and she generously agreed to share some of her holiday treats with us.

What do you like to make, bake or create (or purchase!) for the holidays, Karen?

I come from an Italian tradition of cooking and baking, so it was only natural that after I got married and we had our son that I kept up these traditions for Thanksgiving and Christmas. From cookies to pies to filling for cannoli, I enjoy feeding loved ones over the holidays. When we attended a friend’s Thanksgiving dinner last year, I took along two of our favorites—peanut butter pie and pecan pie.

My sleuth in my mystery series creates her own recipes, as does her sister, mom and Nana. My heroines in my romances usually like to cook too. Inventing recipes is something like putting a plot together and I enjoy coming up with original recipes as well as plots for each book. This is one of the recipes I developed just for my readers’ holiday enjoyment. I hope you enjoy it too.

Dessert with Karen
Dessert with Karen

CAPRICE’S CHOCO CHUNKS AND CHIPS COOKIES

1/2 cup salted butter softened
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
3 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 oz milk chocolate (I use two 3 oz DOVE bars broken into small pieces or chunks. These bars break or cut up easily.)

Preheat oven to 375F

In a mixer, cream softened butter and peanut butter. Mix in brown sugar and granulated sugar until creamed. Add eggs and mix well. Add cinnamon and vanilla. Add baking powder and baking soda. Blend well. Add 2 cups of flour, a quarter cup at a time with mixer on low speed, constantly scrapping bowl. Stir in the other cup of flour, a quarter cup at a time, by hand until completely blended. Stir in chocolate chips and chunks.

Roll into 1 1/2″ balls, place on cookie sheet 2 inches apart and press down slightly with palm of hand. (I usually put 12 on one cookie sheet.)

Bake 11 – 12 minutes until golden brown and set. (The type of cookie sheet you use can affect the baking time. Darker cookie sheets bake faster.)

Remove from the oven and let the cookies sit a minute on a cool surface. Remove from pan.

Recipe makes about 30-36 cookies. Let cool until the chocolate hardens. Unless you eat all of them gooey warm!



Karen’s latest is A Match Made by Baby from Harlequin Special Editon. Check it out here.

Thanks for stopping by today, Karen! Find Karen in the usual places:

Website: http://www.karenrosesmith.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KarenRoseSmithBooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/karenrosesmith

Please help me send books to the military! All you need do is sign up for my newsletter here. That’s it, really. Harlequin is sending 1 book for every 20 new subscriptions. Thank you!

 

Robin Covington is Helping Send Books to the Military for the Holidays

Author Robin Covington
Author Robin Covington

Remember, you can do your part in supporting the military for the holidays. Harlequin will send one book for every 20 new subscribers the Geri Krotow Newsletter gets. Sign up here.

Today we welcome sizzling contemporary author Robin Covington! Robin and I met at the Baltimore Book Festival in 2013 and bonded over our mutual love of the US Navy and our dogs (of course!). In case you don’t already know it, Robin is renown for her generous sharing of man candy on Facebook. She’s also generous with her time and talents, as you’ll soon read.

What do you like to make, bake or create (or purchase!) for the holidays, Robin?

I make caramel popcorn balls, peanut brittle and divinity candy every Christmas. They are my Granny’s recipe and my family counts down the days until I make them – we all have a sweet tooth.

I also wrap gifts in a marathon Lifetime Movie Channel or Hallmark Channel holiday movie event. My husband actually flees the residence because he cannot all those Christmas movies – he takes the kids and I get the house to myself!

And . . . I have four Christmas trees in my house. I love this holiday and I decorate every room and cover every flat surface with greenery and white twinkle lights. My family just moves out of my way and lets me go nuts. They humor me around the holidays.

Do you have a special military connection, Robin? 

 My husband served in the U.S. Navy and my late father-in-law retired from the Navy after 31 years of service. And for the last 20 years both my husband and I have served the Navy and Marine Corps as civilian counsel. There is no doubt who we are rooting for at the Army/Navy football game!

Thanks for joining us today, Robin!

Robin’s latest is Temptation. Read an excerpt here. 

Find Robin at the usual places:

 Website: http://robincovingtonromance.com

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/RobinCovingtonAuthor

Twitter: @RobinCovington

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/robincovington1/

 

 

Andrew Grey is Helping Send Books to the Military for the Holidays

Author Andrew Grey
Author Andrew Grey

Please join me in welcoming bestselling author Andrew Grey to our holiday efforts to send books to the military! Andrew and I are part of the same local chapter of Romance Writers of America, and it’s been my privilege to get to know him over the past several years. He’s always quick with a smile and encouragement, and when I asked him if he’d be interested in supporting our efforts he didn’t blink as he said “yes!”

What do you make, bake, create or purchase for the holidays, Andrew?

For Dominic and I Christmas is a very special time. He spent ten years as a pastry chef, so he spends weeks baking cookies, bread, and fruitcake. He bakes at least a dozen different kinds of cookies and prepares all the food for our annual holiday open house. My job at the holidays is to decorate the house. I put up four trees each with a theme, including a small one in the kitchen with candy and food based ornaments. Then once the baking is done and the house decorated, we have the first of the holiday parties at the house, which is the one for my writer’s group. From then until Christmas, the holidays are in full swing.

Holiday Spinach and Feta Cheese Ball

 1 (10-ounce) box frozen spinach, chopped, thawed and squeezed dry

1 (4-ounce) package crumbled feta cheese

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese at room temperature (or soften in microwave on defrost setting)

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 scallions (green onions) chopped fine

1 teaspoon Greek seasoning from the Spice House (original recipe used 1 oz. envelope powdered ranch dressing mix)

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, crushed fine

1 teaspoon dried dill weed

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons garlic, finely chopped

In a large bowl, mix together the spinach, feta cheese, cream cheese, lemon juice, seasonings, herbs, and garlic. Blend thoroughly, then scrape mixture onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Fold wrap over the cheese mixture and use to shape into a ball or log. Chill for several hours until firm, then unmold onto a serving plate. For a more festive look, you can shape this to look like a tree and decorate with pimento pieces as ornaments and a star cut from yellow bell pepper on the top.

Thanks for sharing with us, Andrew!

Andrew gifted us a peek of  A Lion in Tails.  Check out the excerpt and purchase information here.

Find Andrew at the usual places:

Web site: www.andrewgreybooks.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/andrewgreybooks

Twitter: @andrewgreybooks

Remember, you can do your part to help me send books to the military for the holidays. All you need do is sign up for my newsletter! My publisher, Harlequin, is donating 1 of my new books for every 20 new Geri Krotow Loyal Reader subscribers. Information to sign up is here. Thanks!

 

Jessica Scott is Helping Send Books to the Military for the Holidays

Author Jessica Scott
USA Today Bestselling Author Jessica Scott

Please join me in welcoming USA Today Bestselling author, Army Officer and Graduate Student  Jessica Scott to our holiday celebration! She’s also one of my dear Romvet sisters.

What do you make, bake, create or purchase for the holidays, Jessica?

For Christmas, I make little mouse cookies. You take chocolate chips and melt them with a little crisco then dip oreo cookies in them. Then you take white chocolate chips and do the same, dipping maraschino cherries in them. Then you add little almond slivers for the ears and paint on eyes and a nose. My kids love them.

Jessica’s latest release is Home for Christmas: A Holiday Duet with JoAnn Ross: http://jessicascott.net/home-for-christmas.html 

Find Jessica at the usual spots:

Website: http://www.jessicascott.net

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jessicascottauthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jessicascott09

Remember, you can do your part to send books to the military for the holidays, too. All you have to do is sign up for my newsletter–which I only send out when I have a new book release. That’s it! Sign up here.