featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Holiday Blog Hop Starting December 11th

Holiday Blog Hop

Blog Hop begins December 11th. Click on the graphic above for a schedule and list of giveaways, including a $60 Amazon gift card.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

TRAVEL WITH SERENA--GUEST AUTHOR D.R. RANSDELL ON GREECE AND ITS MUSIC

D.R. Ransdell writes from Tucson, Arizona, but she travels as often as possible. She moonlights in a mariachi band. Last weekend the band was invited to play in Cleveland, Ohio. Today she joins us to talk about her love of Greek music and how it influenced her mystery series. Learn more about D.R. and her books at her website.

Bouzouki Nights: One Writer’s Paradise

I never meant to fall in love with Greece. The process was so natural that I didn’t notice the dangers until it was too late. On a university-sponsored trip, my professors explained all about the myths and the stylobates, but what I fell in love with was the sound of the language via the beauty of song.

I was on a bus listening to the driver’s favorite tunes when Dr. Solomon shook his finger at me. “Greek music is easy to understand. All you have to know is s’agapó and m’agapás, I love you, you love me. You’ll hear it over and over in every single song.” Once I started paying attention, I heard just that.

When we reached Athens, we asked Dr. Solomon for dining suggestions. He sent us to the top of Mnissikleous Street in the heart of Athens’ Plaka. At a taverna called The Old Man of Moria, I became so enchanted with the bouzouki band that I couldn’t concentrate on what I was eating. I was mesmerized by one song after another.

I also marveled at the contrast. Back home in Arizona I played in a mariachi group. We performed five nights a week, and we were so tight that we communicated whole sentences with a word or a glance. These musicians did the same. They entertained us while gossiping with one another.  Most of the other patrons weren’t paying attention. I was. I thought: Had I grown up in Greece, I would have been playing with them. Their group was much like ours, but their rhythms were more syncopated and their songs more replete with minor keys. The spirit was the same. They were dedicated to their craft, but they had fun with it at the same time. They worked from nine p.m. to two a.m., but they didn’t seem tired. They lived the nightlife of the musician. I loved them for it.

On that university trip we also visited Rhodes and Crete, but for me, each Greek island was the same: archaeological sites in the morning, beaches in the afternoon, and bouzouki clubs in the evening. The groups played the standards such as “Zorba the Greek” and “Never on Sunday,” but then they branched out. There were pop songs that had been written in the last decade and island tunes whose origin was unknown. Each night as the tourist crowd thinned and the locals trickled in, the repertoire changed. The musicians played requests, mostly for, sirtaki, which were cheerful dance tunes, and rembétika, which were the Greek version of the blues.

Despite the language barrier, I felt a tremendous kinship with these musicians. While the other patrons laughed and drank, I appreciated how hard the players were working. I appreciated how many songs they knew. I appreciated how they deftly handled requests from the crowd but were equally unfazed when no one listened. Most nights, in mistake-ridden phrases, I tried to explain that I was a musician as well.

When I got back to the US, I took Greek 101. Later I spent a year teaching on Rhodes. Whenever I travel to Greece, my experience is the same. I love going around to see all the sights, and an avid swimmer, I adore the beaches. But the nights are paradise.

My first novel, Amirosian Nights, describes the experiences of a mariachi player on vacation in Greece. (This fall look for a reprint titled Greek Mambo.) In the meantime, I started writing a murder mystery series featuring mariachi musician Andy Veracruz, Andy’s second adventure, Island Casualty, takes place on a Greek island. Naturally, he spends most of his nights listening to music at the nearest taverna! He travels to Greece for a relaxing vacation, but instead he winds up getting chased off a moped and labeled a spy by the local newspaper. With the help of a fellow musician, he tries to uncover some of the island’s best kept secrets.

Island Casualty
In Island Casualty, the second Andy Veracruz mystery, Andy accepts the invitation of a friend who is working at a taverna on a Greek island. He’s hoping Rachel can help him forget the one he could not save, but life on a small island is much different from life in Squid Bay. Instead of a relaxing vacation, Andy finds secret engagements and crazy islanders. As the savior of everyone except himself, Andy is soon involved in it all, but justice is not always black and white.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

HEALTHY LIVING WITH JANICE--GUEST AUTHOR SHARLEEN SCOTT ON ALZHEIMER'S


Alzheimer Flowers
Blue: I have Alzheimer’s. 
Purple: I have lost someone to Alzheimer’s disease. 
Yellow: I am supporting or caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. 
Orange: I support the cause and a vision of a world. without Alzheimer’s.
Romantic-suspense author Sharleen Scott is taking a brief detour from her CAUGHT series with the release of Tangles, a novel dedicated to her mother-in-law, Judy Scott, who succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease. Learn more about Sharleen and her books at her website. 

Why I wrote Tangles

Take a moment to form a mental picture. In this picture, imagine your family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances. Now for the hard reality: Someone in your mental snapshot has Alzheimer’s disease, will have it, or knows someone who does. Over five million Americans are afflicted with this mind-robbing disease right now, and that number will increase as the boomer generation ages.

Facts from the Alzheimer’s Association

Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. It is the most common form of dementia, but it isn’t a normal part of aging. There is no current cure. Almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease are women. Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. To date, there are no survivors.

A Reason to Hope?

I recently attended the “Reason to Hope” breakfast, presented by the Alzheimer’s Association in my hometown, knowing the above facts. My family lost a loved one to this disease, and we know the feeling of hopelessness. But the name of the event intrigued me, and I went in search of a reason to hope.

The presentations were as expected. Videos of victims’ families relayed familiar pleas: this disease is fatal and a cure must be found. Families, activists, and Association volunteers told their stories of how this disease is personal to them, and that their goal is to someday have at least one survivor.

As I listened, I realized the reason to hope is in the research. The Alzheimer’s Association has a program called TrialMatch, which provides access to promising clinical studies being conducted across the country. Alzheimer’s patients today are getting involved in these vital studies to help find a cure for this devastating disease.

Research has also brought hope to families where early-onset Alzheimer’s is almost a certainty. Treatments are being tested on family members who test positive for the disease before symptoms even begin.

There are caregiver support groups to help those experiencing a heavy physical, emotional, and financial toll. Information gives caregivers hope.

What I’m doing to help

I’m forming a walk group, Team Tangles, and am participating in the Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s on September 19 in Yakima, Washington. I encourage you to join the fight either by joining a walk team (mine, if you are in the northwest) or donating to a team member. Visit www.alz.org for more information.

Together, we can make a difference.

Sharleen's Alzheimer’s Walk team page.

Tangles
Can tragedy mend a wounded family?

While faced with the challenge of his mother’s escalating Alzheimer’s disease, Logan McKinnon discovers secret journals that leave him questioning everything he knows about his family. With no one left to ask, Logan must find a man mentioned in the journals to discover a truth he may not want to know.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

#COOKING WITH CLORIS--GRILLED PEACHES WITH AUTHOR ELIZABETH ROSE

Elizabeth Rose is the author of over 40 books. She has a wide variety of interests, and writes medieval, paranormal, western and small town contemporary romance. She has also just published her first young adult novel, Mary, Mary, the first book in her new Gnarled Nursery Rhymes Series. Learn more about Elizabeth and her books at her website

In Saving Simon, Book 5 of my Tarnished Saints Series, you will find my characters eating one of my original recipes – Pippa’s Grilled Peaches & Ice Cream. (This recipe is also found in the Bake, Love, Write: 105 Authors Share Dessert Recipes and Advice onLove and Writing.) I combined my love of fresh peaches with my obsession for grilling to come up with this recipe.

Pippa’s Grilled Peaches and Vanilla Ice Cream

6 fresh peaches, cut in half with the pits removed
cinnamon
ground ginger
vanilla bean ice cream
sprigs of fresh mint

Sprinkle peaches with cinnamon and ground ginger. Place cut side down on a low-flame grill for about 5 minutes, until you get grill marks. Then flip the peaches, skin side down, and cook slowly until they become soft. You’ll see them filling up with the peach juice like little boats.

This will take about 10 minutes. If you cook them slowly, the skins won’t burn.

Serve over ice cream and top with sprigs of fresh mint. You can sprinkle with a little more cinnamon if you think you need it. Usually the peaches are sweet enough without any sweetener, but you can drizzle them with a little honey if you want. The fresh mint is a crucial part of this recipe, giving it the refreshing pop you need to finish off this succulent, creamy dessert that I call food of the gods.

My grandparents, and now my parents live on a lake in Michigan. So every summer, I’m  sure to make a stop for the fresh fruit sold right out of the barns of the farmers. My favorite has always been the fresh peaches. There is no comparing to anything you’ll find in a can or at a grocery store.

In Saving Simon, my businesswoman heroine, Piper (Pippa) Westbrook, is saved by Safety Officer Simon Taylor of the Seduction of the Sea Cruise ship after she falls overboard in a storm. But while Simon loves the water and is a sailor in every sense of the word, Piper has no love for it at all. Her job sends her to Simon’s hometown of Sweet Water, Michigan to close down the marina, where she struggles with making a choice that will affect not only Simon, but the whole town.

Saving Simon
Simon Taylor is Safety Officer of the Seduction of the Sea Cruise Ship, and saves a woman who falls overboard in a storm. Little does he know that this woman is about to show up in his hometown of Sweet Water, Michigan and make big waves.

Piper Westbrook doesn't expect to see her savior from the cruise ship when she is sent by her father to close down the marina on Thunder Lake. But when Simon shows up and she realizes the job she's been sent to do will affect not only his whole family but the entire town, a storm brews between them that only an experienced sailor would know how to ride out.

Can a man with a strong passion for sailing convince a woman who fears water to see through his eyes before it's too late, or will a whirlwind romance be blown away and washed out to sea by one wrong decision?

(Note: Saving Simon is free on Amazon 4/28-4/30)

Monday, April 27, 2015

#CRAFTS WITH ANASTASIA--MEET CONNIE STEDWORTH

Did you know that I’m not the only crafty character author Lois Winston has created? Long before she conceived me, she gave birth to Connie Stedworth, the Martha Stewart of the Midwest (but being that she’s from the Midwest, Connie’s a much kinder, gentler version of the crafting diva.) Connie first made her appearance in Talk Gertie to Me, the first book Lois ever sold. Unfortunately, she was stuck in out-of-print limbo for several years. A few years ago Talk Gertie to Me and the novella romantic mystery sequel, Elementary, My Dear Gertie, became available as ebooks. Now, Talk Gertie to Me is finally once again available in print and for the first time, so is Elementary, My Dear Gertie. Both also have new covers.

If you enjoy the humor of the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, you won’t be disappointed with Talk Gertie to Me and Elementary, My Dear Gertie. A word of advice, though: due to the hysterical nature of these books, it’s best not to read them while drinking anything. And if you enjoy the crafts that are included in the mystery series, you’ll find one of Connie’s trademark crafts in Talk Gertie to Me.

Click here to sign up for author Lois Winston's brand new newsletter.

Two years ago Nori Stedworth fled the conservative mentality of both her parents and Ten Commandments, Iowa, for Manhattan. She loves her new life—until one devastating afternoon that culminates with the arrival of her mother. Mom Connie is suffering from middle-age meltdown. Her only identity is as a wife and mother, but her husband is a workaholic, and her daughter is halfway across the country. Grandchildren would give her life new purpose. If only Nori would come to her senses and marry town mortician and most eligible bachelor Eugene Draymore.

To that end, Mom sets off to bring Nori home. But when she meets Nori’s neighbor, her plans take an unexpected twist, and she’s thrust headfirst into a career as the next Martha Stewart. Suddenly, she’s a somebody in her own right and reconsiders returning to her old life.

As a coping mechanism, Nori resurrects Gertie, her adolescent imaginary friend. A laptop mix-up lands her musings in the hands of Mackenzie Randolph, a talk-radio station manager on deadline to boost sagging ratings or lose his job. He knows he’s found the answer to his prayers when he reads Nori’s make-believe correspondence.

And maybe he’s found much more.

Meanwhile Dad, with Eugene in tow, comes in search of his AWOL wife.Tempers flare when Mom refuses to return home. However, when she and Dad hear Nori on the radio, they unite to “save” her from the corruption of both Mac and Manhattan.

And that’s when things really get interesting.

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In this novella sequel to the award-winning Talk Gertie To Me, two years have passed since the happily-ever-after that isn’t doing so well. Nori Stedworth has moved in with the love of her life, Mackenzie Randolph, much to her parents’ displeasure. They’re coping as best as parents from Ten Commandments, Iowa can. They want Mac to make an honest woman of their daughter, and that means nothing short of marriage. Mac is all for exchanging I do’s. He’s even bought the ring, but before he can pop the question, an explosion hurls him and Nori right into the middle of a murder investigation. Gertie, Nori's alter-ego, can't help but lend her acerbic wit to the twists and turns as the town is turned upside down in the search for a murderer and arsonist, and yet another scandal envelopes the not-so-pious residents of Ten Commandments.

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Friday, April 24, 2015

BOOK CLUB FRIDAY--GUEST AUTHOR DEE ANN PALMER

Today Dee Ann Palmer sits down for an interview. Dee Ann writes romance in several subgenres, some with a touch of murder or suspense. Learn more about her and her books at her website and blog.

When did you realize you wanted to write novels?

I’d sold shorter pieces of fiction and non-fiction, had won awards, but I had this idea that real writers wrote books and sold them. So I began one. I had no idea what I was doing, didn’t know about genres. When an author in my critique group mentioned my “romance” novel, I was surprised.

How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?

The first thing I wrote and mailed -- cold -- to a magazine was purchased and published. I had no idea that writers were paid for their work!

It wasn’t as easy to sell my first novel. It was rejected by 27 literary agents, but purchased by the first e-press publisher who read it.

Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?

Hybrid. My romances have been published digitally and in print by Amber Quill Press, LLC, since 2004. I’ve recently regained rights to my male/female erotic romances, reduced the sex level to sensual, and have been indie publishing them.

Where do you write?

I work on a PC in a room where my husband is too often working on his laptop at the same time, and he interrupts me at times. Until she passed away on April 7th this year, Ella, our adored older cat, often slept on the shelf above me.

Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?

Music’s an important part of my life, but it demands my full attention, so I usually write in silence. I did listen to Native American music while writing the final draft of Where Eagles Cry. However, turbulent Rachmaninoff and Brahms concertos set the pace when I composed some hot sex scenes for two recent erotic stories, written under a pseudonym.

How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?

I may use snippets of experience from something in my life, such as setting this particular novel in the valley and state where I live, but my characters are usually fully fictional. My plots are born when I put my main characters together and put them in motion. I’ve tried to plot ahead, but my brain defies me in this. I can’t do it until my characters are in motion. And my characters don’t fully develop until I’m into the story.

Describe your process for naming your character?

I research popular names for the period and/or country. To assist my readers in keeping my main and secondary characters straight, I choose names that don’t sound alike, begin with different letters and have different numbers of syllables. Matching the names to the characters is important to me. A strong hero named Wilbur is not believable, but a nerd might be. Can you imagine Scarlet O’Hara with her original name of Pansy?

Real settings or fictional towns?

I use both, but if you’re using a real town you need to be sure you get it right. Saying you turned left onto Mountain avenue from Third street while traveling south will throw some people out of the story if they know you should be turning right.

Actually, a fictionalized area of the valley in which I live is the setting for Where Eagles Cry. I have a writer friend who, no matter what I say, is absolutely certain she knows exactly where it is.

“No, Pat. I’m telling you…I made it up.”

If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?

Probably Ivanhoe. It’s a classic, and one of the time periods I love. It’s why I wrote Christiana’s Choice. And I used that time period for a shape-shifter fantasy called How to Seduce a Knight.

Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?

I just got to do one! After Knight Of The Captive Heart was released, I realized it had an error of history in it. I had to wait several years before getting my rights back. It’s now the indie book How to Seduce a Knight…with the error corrected. Whew.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Heroines or heroes who do something stupid.

You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?

Fresh water, food and shelter. Dull, isn’t it? I know. But you asked.

What was the worst job you’ve ever held?

Working under a bully. A mean girl grown up. Fortunately, I was able to resign and get a better paying job under a much nicer supervisor. Later, I contributed to a book by a psychologist about girls who were bullies on the playground and still are. All grown up.

What’s the best book you’ve ever read?

Can’t pick one out of the thousands of books I’ve read over my lifetime.

Ocean or mountains?

I prefer both and, luckily, we’re within an hour of each, plus the beach.

City girl/guy or country girl/guy?

I was raised in San Diego, went to college in San Francisco. Love big cities. Live in a medium size one now.

What’s on the horizon for you?

My WIP is extending A Night to Remember—my 2K contemporary romance included in Exquisite Quill’s 2014 A Holiday Anthology, Volume 2—to 38 or 40K. Watch for Savage Lust, the 5K Amber Allure prequel to Night Train, my vampire series.

Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books?

Right now you’ll only find historical romances on my website. I’m hurrying to post some previously released contemporaries and time travels.

Where Eagles Cry
Jilted by love in 1834, Cara, a young Bostonian woman, sails to Mejico’s rugged California to make a new life for herself. She takes a position as companion to the wife of Don Miguel Navarro, the tough and irresistible owner of a major inland rancho, and finds herself as deeply drawn to him as he is to her. Love may break her heart again for even though his wife has the mind of a child due to a mysterious fall, Cara would never be mistress to a married man.

Undercurrents she doesn’t understand swirl through the ranch. Native superstition says that when the bells ring and an eagle cries, someone will die. Several people have. Will the next death be hers?  Until ships sail again for Boston, she’s trapped between danger and an impossible love.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

ROMANCE SUPER BUNDLE III: ALWAYS & FOREVER


Romance Super Bundle III: Always & Forever, the follow-up to the USA Today Bestselling Romance SuperBundle II: Second Chances is now available for pre-order.

SKIN (book 1 of Broken but… Mending), Dale Mayer
A journey of exploration...
A journey of healing…
A journey of love…
Two people are forced by circumstances into a therapy class to help them deal with their problems. They are strangers. Forced to be partners. Naturally opposites.

EVIDENCE OF TRUST, Stacey Joy Netzel
Sparks fly when a headstrong wrangler & an alpha park ranger are thrown together while he's searching for evidence to stop a poacher killing animals in RMNP. When the monster turns his sights on Brittany, Joel discovers he'll do whatever it takes to protect her.

CROSS THE LINE, Wendy Ely
Living the 'no strings' attached lifestyle has always worked for Leslie until she arrives in Phoenix and meets Chris Matthews. She doesn't like bad-boys, so why can't she keep her hands off her new neighbor? Can she let him lead her places she's never been before?

TREASURE ON MOON LAKE, Amy Gamet
Tori Henderson has never forgotten her teenage crush, Gabe. When her mother gets engaged to Gabe's father, Tori assumes Gabe will be at the wedding and hatches a plan to get him back. But Gabe also has a half-brother, Jed, with plans of his own to snag Tori himself.

GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY, Donna Marie Rogers
James is furious when his shiftless brother sells half their horse ranch to match a bet. When a golden opportunity falls into Angela's lap, she takes it and sets out to prove she has what it takes to help James run the ranch—and ends up losing her heart to both.

HEARTS IN MOTION, Edie Ramer
Take two cats, a dog, a determined woman and her teenage sister… Add a businessman trying to do the right thing and a six-year-old girl with a damaged heart… And it's hard to tell who is rescuing who...

OUT OF CONTROL, Kate Kelly
One night of passion turned into a crazy, unforgettable month—until Serena McGregor walked away from undercover FBI agent Nick DeMarco. Six months later, her elusive scent still haunting him, Nick risks his career to prove Serena is innocent of a million dollar theft.

LOST IN MANHATTAN, Lois Winston
A terrorist's twisted need for revenge has claimed the lives of Sarah Montgomery's entire family. One more kill will fulfill a promise made long ago. Can a woman who can't remember and a man who can't forget stop the assassin before Sarah becomes the final victim?

ALL FOR A GOOD CAUSE, Barbara Phinney
Comedy, romance and a meddling family: Former beauty queen Janet Jemseg is asked to raise money for charity and 'marry' hunky, annoying Devon Kidder? No way! But it's for a good cause.

LADY ELINOR'S ESCAPE, Linda McLaughlin
Lady Elinor Ashworth longs for adventure, but when she runs away from her abusive aunt, she finds more than she bargained for in Stephen Chaplin, a curious barrister determined to ferret out her secrets. Cinderella meets Mr. Darcy in this sweet Regency romance.

LORD OF DARKNESS, Ava Bradley
The night Victoria Conrad runs away doesn't turn out at all like she planned. After being accosted by two ruffians, she is rescued by the horribly scarred Earl of Carlisle—only to discover she is his prisoner!

This boxed set features romances by eleven NY Times and USA Today bestselling, award-winning authors. And it’s available for only .99 cents! The set will go onside July 6th, but you can pre-order yours today from these vendors:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

HAPPY EARTH DAY!

courtesy of TheOriginalSoni,
based on the fixture File:NASA Earth America 2010.jpg

Happy Earth Day! Earth Day began in 1970 as a way to promote environmental awareness. 

Here are some easy things you can do to help preserve our planet:

Educate yourself and your family about the environment and why it’s important to take care of our planet.

Use as many locally grown foods as possible. 

Use eco-friendly cleaning products.

Plant trees and plants native to your area.

Encourage children to make nature crafts.

Hold a garage sale or donate household items and clothing you no longer use or need.

Walk or ride your bike instead of driving everywhere. It's not only good for reducing your carbon footprint, it's good for reducing your waistline.

Keep your neighborhood clean. Never litter, and if you see litter, pick it up and toss it into a trashcan.

Recycle everything you can. Many communities now pick up recyclables at your curb. These include newspapers, magazines, office paper, cardboard, metal cans, glass, and plastics. It's just as easy to put out the recycling as it is to put out the trash. Just use separate receptacles.

Use both sides of the paper. This cuts down on paper waste by fifty percent. The reverse side of mail, homework, office memos, etc. can be used for scrap paper, shopping lists, or your kids' arts & crafts projects. The Sunday comics section of the newspaper makes for fun wrapping paper.

Purchase paper towels that allow you to tear off smaller sheets. Not every spill needs a full sheet of paper towel. And use sponges instead of paper towels whenever possible.

Don't leave the water running while you brush your teeth and floss.

Showers use less water than baths.

If you have in-ground sprinkles, turn them off when it's raining or if there's been rain recently.  I can't tell you how many times I see sprinklers going on a rainy day or the day after we've had storms.

Turn off lights when you leave the room, and switch out your incandescent bulbs to energy efficient ones.

Don't stand in front of the open refrigerator, contemplating the contents.

When washing your car, use a bucket instead of the hose.

Remember, only you can save the planet. Happy Earth Day! 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

#COOKING WITH CLORIS--GUEST AUTHOR BARBARA PHINNEY AND A RHUBARB MERINGUE #CAKE #RECIPE

Today I’m featuring a recipe for Rhubarb Meringue Cake from one of the authors showcased in Bake, Love, Write: 105Authors Share Dessert Recipes and Advice on Love and Writing.

Barbara Phinney is a multi-published USA Today bestselling author who retired from the military to raise her two children and soon turned her creativity toward writing historical and contemporary romance under her own name and mystery and science fiction under her Georgina Lee pen name. Read more about Barbara and her books at her website. 

Rhubarb Meringue Cake

1-1/4 cups all–purpose flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup shortening
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups chopped rhubarb*
5 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

*Only use the fleshy red stems. Some rhubarb is sold with the leaves still on. Rhubarb leaves are poisonous.

Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, milk, shortening, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Beat on low mixer speed, scraping bowl constantly, for 30 seconds. Beat again at high speed for three minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally.

Pour batter into a 9-10” cake pan. Do not use an 8” pan as the addition of rhubarb will make it overflow. Spread the rhubarb on top of the batter. Do not mix. Bake for 45 minutes or until knife comes out clean from the center. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add remaining sugar. Beat until soft peaks form. Add cream of tartar and remaining vanilla extract. Beat until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue on top of cake.

Brown meringue in 400 degree F oven until peaks and edges are brown. Cool before serving. Meringue can weep after a day or two, but it still tastes good!

Hard Target
Military policewoman, Sgt. Dawna Atkinson, is trained to keep her South American embassy safe, but when a bomb is detonated out front one morning, her home unit sends her old instructor, Tay Hastings, to assist with the investigation.

Tay is the one person who can ruin all she's worked so hard for. He's also her one weakness, thanks to a night of shared indiscretion that still haunts her dreams.

Tay wants to tell her how he fought to take the blame for that night, and how she makes him feel, but circumstances prevent that. As the investigation heats up, they find that it's one thing to guard the embassy, but another, much harder thing to guard their own hearts.