Monday, April 30, 2012

Behind the Scenes



Behind the Scenes with Lizzie: Chapters Two and Three

by April W Gardner

An island occupied by Nazis makes life hazardous, but for an adventurous nine-year-old girl bent on escape, it could be deadly.

Wholesome and filled with adventure and history, Lizzie and the Guernsey Gang is a jackpot for parents on the lookout for good reading material for their kids. Lizzie is written for ages 9-12, and is based on the life of, Ruth Davies, who lived through the German occupation of Guernsey Island. Her own adventures living among the enemy are shared through Lizzie's life in the Channel Islands Resistance series.

To make things more fun, and to help kids keep the facts straight, Ruth is traveling through the book chapter by chapter, chatting about her memories and which parts of the book are real and which are make-believe.

You'll find previous chapters HERE.

Before we jump into chapters two and three, here's a little about the book:

Lizzie Browning loves nothing more than her tiny, island-home of Guernsey, but when German bombs drop on her crystal beach, her peaceful world is shattered. For months, the big war on the continent has been nothing more than stories in the paper, but as the enemy takes over Guernsey, the war rushes to her doorstep. For Lizzie, younger brother Andre, and cousin James, the time to escape is now, and they know just how to do it.

Phillip Seifert, the odd boy from down the street, has all the markings of a genuine Nazi-lover. Lizzie knows better than to trust him, but he somehow manages to weasel his way into James’ good graces. Phillip joins the gang in their audacious escape plan, and Lizzie can do little more than pray he doesn’t get them all shot. But Lizzie soon learns that God doesn’t always answer prayers in the way she expects. He might actually plan for them to live under Nazi rule…forever.

Beware! If you haven't read the book yet, there might be spoilers. You can solve that problem by purchasing your copy of Lizzie and the Guernsey Gang today.

Amazon Paperback Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble Nook

Ruth, were you disappointed about missing the boat?

I was disappointed that we were not going on this “huge” boat, now I think back they weren’t really very big, I certainly wouldn’t want to travel on them now. I was also disappointed I would not see London (as if I would have been taken there), had I packed a very small backpack with one change of underclothes, one item of nightwear one clean dress and my small Bible with pictures in it all for nothing?

However as I trusted my parents with God’s answer to everything they took to Him in prayer, and my father explained that he was not allowed to travel with us and my mother was only permitted to travel because my younger brother Clar was just 4 years old. There was a possibility that we would be separated , having to travel with the other school children and billeted with them for the time being. The whole situation was far less attractive.

Later on that day, Dad explained how Mom and he had prayed the previous night, that if it was God’s Will for us to leave, they would leave the early morning alarm to Him. We had been taught that God never sleeps, therefore that wasn’t the reason He allowed us to sleep in.

As I got older and understood Spiritual things more, I was – and still am - grateful to the Lord that He took us along that path, and even more grateful that He brought us through the trial. We all learned such a lot which we, well certainly I, have never forgotten. I am grateful even now for so many different things, even to this day I would never waste bread by throwing it in the trash, I feed birds with it, but throw it away? Never! I hate to see food waste as it always brings to mind the absolute rotten, mouldy, even filthy stuff (called food) which we had to eat – or go without.

Were you really on the beach at the time of the bombing?

Yes! We certainly were! I was not searching for crabs, but maybe my brothers or cousins were, none of us were swimming for I remember the tide was well out, we always waited for the tide to come in otherwise we had to walk so far out to be even waist high in water, no fun in that. I can still remember the spot where we were, probably just soaking up the sun while waiting for high tide. The bombs did not drop on Cobo Bay, they aimed at an old Napoleonic look-out, thinking no doubt that this was a gun post or something similar, the bay was called Salines Bay, and the target was about ¼ mile away, so close enough to deafen us, I think the planes coming out of nowhere just above our heads were even more frightening. We then heard the thunder of machine guns and bombs over the main harbour in St, Peter Port – the capital of Guernsey. Within minutes my mother appeared looking absolutely terrified rushing us home, no time to get dressed, no time to put shoes on our feet, fortunately the journey home for us just took 5 minutes, and for our cousins 2 minutes, their home was just about on the sea-front. Our biggest fear when we reached home, our father was not back from work, he should have been, but he turned up eventually, after sheltering behind a granite wall just a few minutes from home, there were no bombs dropped in our area, but we were not to know that at the time. He told us he had been praying out loud accompanied by another man he knew, one of the biggest loud-mouthed heathens in Guernsey. This man asked Dad to pray for, (to quote his words) “We have been a wicked lot and God is angry with us”. I would like to imagine that my father’s reply was “Speak for yourself”, but I know it was nothing of the sort.

All this happened on June 28th 1940, two days later June 30th, my father received the most unforgettable Birthday present – the Germans had landed and began the five longest years of our lives.

Learn more about the Channel Islands Resistance series HERE. Visit this site for more about the author and her historical romance series, the Creek Country Saga.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Behind the Scenes - Cue Me In by Nell Dixon

Written by Nell Dixon

Cue Me In is set in a haunted Welsh border castle. I've visited many of these castles as I'm part Welsh and have spent a lot of time in Wales. Wales is a tiny principality, part of the UK and it's borders - known as the Welsh Marches - have been fought over many times. There are lots of ruins to explore. One of my favourite castles and a fabulous place to visit is Carew castle in Pembroke. This was one the home of the legendary Princess Ness, a formidable Welsh princess with an interesting love life. Now in ruins, the castle is supposed to be haunted by the ghost of a monkey.



Cue Me In was inspired by the beauty of Carew and the feeling of sadness that hangs over the place. The dog in the story and the mysterious howling is drawn from other Welsh legends and is coupled with the Celtic green magic tradition and reputation for healing.




Price: $2.99

Buy it HERE.

Blurb:

Fae Heath wants to be on TV, but not just any show. She wants to be on Ghost UK. She intends to win the contest to find the next presenter. Tall, slim and blonde and access to a haunted Welsh Castle on Halloween – how can she fail?


Thursday, April 26, 2012

What's New?

Today is release day at Astraea Press. Check out the great story we have for you today!

Price: $1.99

Buy it here.

Blurb:


Chicago

November 1922

The last person Anna needs to fall in love with is a police officer, especially since she breaks the law every day. Running a speakeasy wasn’t her first choice, but making money is. With the price of hooch at an all-time premium, the money is more than enough to pay for her uncle’s expensive medication and the bills. She doubts Officer Paul Gordon will see things the same way.

Paul is enchanted with the chestnut-haired woman he runs into on a cold, Chicago street, and that enchantment quickly turns to more. If someone were to tell him she was a criminal, he’d never believe it. Then he sees it for himself. When Anna is arrested, he must make a decision—protect her or his badge.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Obsessions with Rebekah Purdy


Written by Rebekah Purdy

Okay, is it possible to have an obsession with obsessions? LOL. I only say this because, well, I have several obsessions. For instance, I LOVE Star Wars. I mean, I EPICALLY love it. As in my first crush when I was eight years old was Luke Skywalker (yeah, I know, he was the whiney one). Of course, by this time the movie had already been out for like 9 years. But in my house I have Star Wars ships, movies, light sabers, a candy dish, coffee mugs, Legos, board games, books, and video games. I even have a stuffed Yoda sitting in a rocking chair in my room—“Yes, sitting in my chair he is…” (LOL—okay, I’m a dork). And when my hubby and I went to an amusement park we had our picture taken as Princess Leia and Han Solo. Then two years later, we brought all our kids (6 of them) to get Star Wars pictures done too. We have a complete wall dedicated to our Star Wars pictures at home.

But, that’s not my only obsession. Nope. I’m also obsessed with books. I have all the books I owned as a child, teen, and adult. I basically own my very own library. When someone needs a book to read, they ask me. My kids and niece raid my bookshelves all the time. But there’s just something about a good book. I even reread some of my favorites once a year. The thing is, I’m glad I’ve kept them all it gives me the opportunity to share them with others and to talk about them.
I also happen to be obsessed with several TV shows: The Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle, Haven, Destination Truth, Ghost Hunters, Fact or Faked, New Girl, Once Upon a Time, The Voice, and Psych. I absolutely, can’t miss these shows. If I know I won’t be home, I DVR them. Two of them are based on book series that I LOVED as a teen (The Vampire Diaries and The Secret Circle).
Another obsession for me is traveling. My hubby and I like to pack the kids up and go on long road trips. There’s something about visiting a new place for the first time. So far I’ve been to 21 states and 6 countries. My favorite places I’ve visited have been Wyoming, the Upper Peninsula in Michigan, England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. We always come back with lots of pictures and souvenirs to remember our trips. I think it’s important for our kids to see new things and know the world is bigger than our own backyard.
But my obsessions don’t end there. I have quite a taste for chocolate as well. I don’t think I’ve ever gone a 1 week without it (smiles). Then there’s my obsession with sports. I watch a lot of football and soccer (GO LIONS!! GO ARSENAL!). If I’m not watching it on TV then I’m cheering my kids on during their sporting events (football, soccer, and basketball).
I’m also BIG into family. I enjoy spending time with my kids, pets, and hubby, whether at home or on the road or at sporting or music events. To me, family is everything.
And I may or may not be obsessed with checking my email (clicks over to see what’s in the inbox). You could also say I’m obsessed with happiness and making people laugh. Do you see a trend here? Seriously. I’m like obsessed with obsession or maybe better put, I’m obsessed with obsessing about things. But we only live once, right? Might as well obsess with living life to its fullest—even if it means being “obsessed with everything.”


Book Blurb
The Fairy Godmother Files: Cinderella Complex
Sixteen-year-old Maggie Winters can’t think of anything more exciting than junior year. There’s her first prom to look forward to, she can drive, and most important Connor Prince has finally noticed her. But unfortunately so has the school snob, Katrina Melville, who goes out of her way to make Maggie’s life a living hell. If that’s not enough, Maggie’s grandma has decided to retire, which doesn’t seem like such a big deal. That is until she finds out her grandma is a Fairy Godmother, and not just any Fairy Godmother. The Fairy Godmother, as in Cinderella, pumpkins, and mice. And she has informed Maggie that she’s next in line to become the new Fairy Godmother.
At first Maggie is excited, the whole getting wings, flying (or rather trying not to crash), and a wand that lets her grant wishes. It’s like being a superhero, without all the action, explosions, and spandex. Then she gets her first assignment, Katrina Melville, her nemesis. And if that doesn’t make her want to poof herself into oblivion, she finds out that part of Katrina’s happily-ever-after is Connor Prince. Life is so unfair. Even worse, she can’t tell her two best friends about any of it and they’re getting sick of her disappearing acts. Then there are the dangerous creatures, called Grimms who will stop at nothing to keep the happy endings from being fulfilled, even if it means destroying the Fairy Godmother responsible. With time running out, Maggie has to make this wish come true or it will ruin the fates of everyone involved, and open the world to darkness beyond imagination. Maggie will soon find out what it truly means to be a Fairy Godmother—and it isn’t all about princes, gowns, and wings, but something much more.
Buy links: AstraeaPress Amazon

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What's New?

It's new release day at Astraea Press. Come see what we have in store for you today!


Price: $2.99

Buy it HERE.

Blurb:

Melody Moon has returned to her roots with fame and riches in hopes of finding Gideon, the young man with the strange birthmark on his face. Thoughts of him have haunted her for twenty years, yet no one knows what happened to him. After purchasing Catalpa Hall, their childhood sanctuary, Melody makes an unusual discovery: carved in the wood below the old stage in the hall is her name, Gideon’s name, and the current year.

Melody and Gideon were once known as the “Double Uglies,” dubbed as such by Melody’s reprehensible older brother, Dean. The cruel nickname later earned Melody fame as an author of children’s books, but only Gideon knows the nickname had actually precipitated dreadfully more—her brother’s drowning long ago. It’s a loss that’s turned Gideon into the recluse he’s become.

What exactly did happen at the secluded pond behind Catalpa Hall when Melody and Gideon were so young and just trying to get by in the backwoods culture…and who else may have witnessed it? Someone with sinister motives is involved, and is desperately attempting to tear Gideon and Melody apart. Gideon’s love for the enchanting young woman he’d been forced to abandon two decades ago may force him to leave her again, for he feels certain Melody could never understand the truth. At least--his perception of the truth.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Aspire to Inspire


Written by Kay Springsteen

“When a spunky Wall Street secretary's business idea is stolen by her boss, she seizes an opportunity to steal it back by pretending she is her boss.” Are you old enough to remember this movie? It’s Working Girl from 1988, starring Harrison Ford as Jack Trainer, Sigourney Weaver as Katharine Parker, and Melanie Griffith as Tess McGill.
For those who don’t recall or who may never have seen it (you’re missing out!), Tess is a secretary trying to make it in a man’s world. Her latest boss steals an idea of hers and Tess decides to take action. In the end, she proves the idea was originally hers by showing how she came up with it.
<><><>





Jack: Hear the lady out, sir. There's another elevator.
Trask: Fine.
Jack (to Tess): You're on.
Tess (sets down her box of belongings and pulls out a file, rifles through it and pulls out newspaper clippings): Okay. See, this is Forbes. It's just your basic article about how you were looking to expand into broadcasting, right? Okay now, the same day, I'll never forget this. I'm reading page six of the Post, and there's this item on Bobby Stein, the radio talk show guy who does all those gross jokes about Ethiopia and the Betty Ford Center. Well, anyway, he's hosting this charity auction that night...real blue bloods, and won't that be funny? Now turn the page to Suzy, who does the society stuff, and there's this picture of your daughter.
Trask (looking at the clippings and nodding): Ah.
Tess: See, nice picture. And she's helping to organize the charity ball. So I started to think, "Trask, radio...Trask, radio." And then I hooked up with Jack, and he came on board with Metro, and...and so now here we are. (1)
<><><>
The way stories come to me is perhaps a bit unusual. I don’t get snatches of the story or a scene here and there that I can build on and see where it leads. When inspiration hits, it is most often sudden and the skeleton of an entire story just pops into my head, leaving me with only the need to flesh out the characters and develop the muscle of the story. But here’s where it actually gets tricky. The inspiration will hit me much the same way it hit Tess McGill in Working Girl. Pieces of a puzzle begin to connect themselves in my brain. Perhaps a song, or a story in the news will plug itself in, and then if I just sit still, the rest of the pieces fall into place from start to finish. Songs ease their way into my consciousness, memories of events or people I took note of while out in public arrange themselves into the character lineup. Pictures and scenes splash across my mind and build upon one another.
For example, in Lifeline Echoes, it was a song as I listened to my MP3 player set on random one night after work. Garth Brooks voice came on singing “When You Come Back to Me Again,” which is the theme from the movie Frequency. For whatever reason, the words just started forming pictures in my mind, but NOT the pictures from the movie. All new scenes about people who never meet in person…and the concept of a voice lifeline and falling in love knowing it can never be a fulfilled love was born. I mulled the story over for perhaps two or three days, and those bits and pieces floated upward from the filing cabinet of my mind and I knew I was going to tell an emotional tale of love and loss and love again. As I wrote the story, I knew exactly where it was heading from beginning to end and how it was going to get there. All that was left to do was add the bells and whistles.
Other stories had similar beginnings. With Heartsight, it was the story of a blind soldier in the news. With Operation: Christmas Hearts, my daughter (a U.S. Marine wife) mentioned how hard families find being apart during holidays. Heartsent came about when my daughter-in-law mentioned a story about surrogate mothers.
At the end of the day, I have far more completed stories in my head than I can ever hope to get onto my computer. Why? Because the skeleton of the story is not the complete story and it still takes time to gather my thoughts enough to form understandable and cohesive sentences in a logical order that makes sense to those who will read it. I joke often that I am in search of a direct connection between brain and computer so when inspiration hits I can simply think the story and it will type itself. Until then…I’d better get back to it and let some of these clamoring people out.

 

 
You can find Kay's books at Astraea Press, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
 
ENDNOTES
(1) From Working Girl, 1988, 20th Century Fox

Friday, April 20, 2012

Nothing Like Music to Motivate

Written by Kendall Evans

I can write with or without music, but my preference is with…and lots of it. Sometimes, if I’m stuck in a scene, I’ll turn on music, and a song lyric can bump me right out of that rut. It gets me back on track. Someone else’s creativity never ceases to encourage mine. But I use music for so much more than just writing.

If I start to grumble or complain about things not going the exact way I want them to go, I’ll put on some music to distract me. If I feel like eating when I know I shouldn’t, I’ll turn up the tunes. My music library is filled with various genres of music, all of which I use at various times throughout the day. Whether it’s blood pumping music, soul-inspiring music, or just mellow, time to relax music, I love it all.

If you’re feeling down or like you just can’t accomplish everything you want to do in life, turn on some good music, some restoring music. There are many songs that can revitalize you and reignite the hope that lies within you. Here are some of my favorites:

Hero by Mariah Carey

I Believe I Can Fly by R. Kelly

What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong

Live Like You Were Dying by Tim McGraw

We Shall Be Free by Garth Brooks

The Prayer by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli

Smile by Michael Jackson

How can you possibly feel gloomy when you’ve got music like this coming from your speakers? I know I can’t. Once I fill the room with beautiful lyrics, I soon find myself singing along, and before I know it, whatever was bothering me has taken a backseat to my off-key rendition.

I can get swept away by writing and reading, but music just fills my soul. It can keep me pounding on the keyboard, sweating to those oldies, rocking around the clock, and dancing in the streets. And it’s one of my greatest motivational tools.

I think Billy Joel said it best. “I think music in itself is healing. It's an explosive expression of humanity. It's something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we're from, everyone loves music.”

P.S. I’ve never told anyone this before, but I guess if you’re going to spill a secret, it’s best to do it to hundreds of your closest friends, right? Well, here goes. I used to write songs. No, I’m not talking about the feel-good songs like the ones indicated above.

I wrote the “where has my love gone, why won’t you return to me”, woeful stories of broken hearts, missed chances, and unrequited love. I hand wrote hundreds of sappy tunes (this was long before computers were being used) before I came to the unhappy realization that part of writing music is understanding poetry and being able to craft beautiful, rhythmic prose. Yeah, I can’t do that, but I can write books which still satisfies my muse.


Buy it here.

Blurb:


1951

The Korean War is tearing apart more than just the soil on which it’s fought.

Laura has loved Mark for as long as she can remember. She can’t imagine her life without him. Mark’s feelings for Laura are just as strong, but he has a secret—one that is bound to come between them. He’s shipping out to Korea in a week.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

What's New?

It's release day Thursday and we have a special treat for you. :) Check out the newest release from Astraea Press!

Price: $1.99

Buy it here.

Blurb:

A visit to the Highland games goes awry for Alasdair Buchanan when his cousin abandons him in the crowd. His guide dog is terrible at describing the sights, but he does a great job of finding the river. Too bad Alasdair has no clue where that river is in relation to his cousin’s apartment.

When Trisha Wright stops to speak with him in her angelic voice, Alasdair is certain his cousin did him a favor by abandoning him. Trisha loves the Scot’s flirtatious ways and basks in his compliments, but she can’t shake the fear that he’ll hate her when he learns the truth about her—a truth everyone can see but him.

Open Call for Submissions

Call for Submissions: For the Love of Paws

Astraea Press is currently seeking submissions for our upcoming Charity books.
Open to genres of Clean fiction, middle grade and above. Stories should contain a strong pet based theme or strong pet characters. Stories should be between 12 and 17k. Submissions close June 15th 2012.
The purpose of these stories should be to showcase our relationship with our pet companions. First year proceeds from sales of these charity books will be donated to The Pet Fund, www.thepetfund.com a 501c(3) to help pets in need of veterinary funding assistance.
All Charity titles have a one year contract. After the one year the author may renew their contract and retain royalties or keep the rights to their book.
Please see our submissions page for FULL submissions guidelines.http://www.astraeapress.com/submissions.html

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Obsessions

Written by Joselyn Vaughn

I’ve taken to following a blog of one of our local weathermen. He posts about upcoming weather predictions, current conditions and cool meteorological phenomena. Several of the blog followers are storm chasers or spotters who report conditions in their area. Someday I think it would be cool to take one of the classes for storm spotting. After watching the show Storm Chasers, I’m not sure I’d like to do the actual on the road tracking of a storm. Watching the windows smash out of a vehicle as it meets a tornado head on was scary enough. I wouldn’t want to be in the vehicle.

Several of the people who follow this blog must also watch the show. During the discussion of the last storm system, they were commenting about a member of one of the crews chasing storms in our area. Pictures of funnel clouds, wall clouds, etc. were posted on the crews Facebook page. Having seen the types of storms that these guys normally chase – and knowing that these storms rarely hit West Michigan, but that we’ve also had a very unusual winter and early spring – makes me a bit nervous.

When a storm system approaches, I bounce between this blog and the various looping radars on the National Weather Service website to see where the storm is tracking and whether it will hit our area. I’m not sure where my obsession with weather came from, but it certainly helped when writing about Elmer in The Warden’s Lantern. He is a former storm-chaser, meteorologist, and engineer, who evaluates storm damage. He has to use these skills to figure out what he and Barbara saw out in the woods.


Price: $2.99


Buy it here.


When lost love shows up on your doorstep, what do you do? Minnie Schultz slams the door in his face. She and Gordon Anderson have a history—close to ancient history, given the fifty years since their last encounter. After all that time, it might seem like water under the bridge. But the water pours from the plumbing in Minnie’s bed and breakfast, the Lilac Bower, uncovering all the secrets and heartache between them. With the help of some paranormal investigators, an Elvis impersonator and a couple of nosey friends, can Minnie and Gordon find the future they were meant to have?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Author Recipe: Cornish Pasty

Written by Nell Dixon

Cornish Pasty

Tradition is that the pasty shape represents the quarter moon with blunted horns. This is the emblem of Astarte, Goddess of the Phoenicians who came to Cornwall to trade tin.

Ingredients:
1lb (450g) shortcrust pastry12oz (350g) chuck or stewing steak (diced)
4 medium potatoes2oz (50g) butter
1 onion - peeled1 egg - beaten (for glazing)
4oz (100g) swedeSalt and pepper to taste


Directions:


Roll out the pastry to ¼" (5mm) thick and cut into four 6"(15cm) circles ( larger if you want a man-sized pasty - you can use a dinner plate as a template). Cut the potato in small cubes or flakes directly on to the pastry. Next cover this with the swede (if you are American - rutabaga) then add some of the onion, diced up and the meat. Add a dot of butter and season well. Dampen the edges of the pastry and fold in half to form a semi-circle. Pinch and turn the edge over to make a rope like effect (this bit is quite thick - the tin miners used to use this bit as a kind of handle to eat the main part of the pasty without getting dirt on their food and they would throw that bit away). Some people jab a knife into the top to make a 'steam-hole'. Brush with beaten egg and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake, in a hot oven (425°F-Gas mark 7, for 10 minutes then lower the temperature setting to 350°F-Gas mark 4 for 30 minutes.

Eat, hot or cold.



Easter Holiday - Blurb

Cornish farmer, Noah Penwarren is sworn off city girls, especially deceitful ones. Posy Carmichael is a city girl through and through. When romantic sparks start to fly will Posy’s secret end their Easter romance before it’s even begun?


Excerpt from Easter Holiday

Posy flinched as she eased the car forward into the rut she’d been trying to avoid. Behind her, the tent poles and pegs clattered and rattled as she jolted along to the gap in the boundary. She placed the car in reverse and backed into the entrance of the field ready to turn around.

The rear wheels skidded on the muddy grass. Posy changed into first gear and hoped she would manage to get out ahead of the tractor she could hear approaching down the narrow track. To her dismay the wheels of the car span around as she revved the engine, failing to gain any purchase on the soft ground.

“Noooooo.” She moaned and gave the accelerator a last desperate nudge. A fine spray of mud shot from the back of the car to coat the back window.

The blue nose of a tractor chugged into view and stopped in front of her. Posy sucked in a breath. The way her day was headed she’d probably get told off now for trespassing. She lowered the window as the driver of the tractor dismounted from his cab and came over to her.

“I take it you’re stuck?” The man bent so his head was level with her window.

“I was trying to turn round.”

Posy had a glimpse of dark blue eyes and a rugged jaw before the owner of the tractor stood leaving her with a view of green farm overalls.

“I’ll pull you out with the tractor.” His voice sounded resigned as if he were used to tugging stranded motorists from the entrance to his fields every day of the week.

Posy opened the car door and went to get out. Her shoe sank in the soft earth, with a soft, squelching sound.

“Do you want me to help?” She wobbled on one leg trying to extricate her foot from the sticky gloop.

“You’re fine. Just stay in the car and put it in neutral with the handbrake off when I tell you.”

She slipped back into her seat and tried to scrape the mud from her shoe onto the car mat. The previously unsmiling lines of his mouth had now softened into the hint of a grin as he began to attach the rope to the front of her car. Clearly, he found her encounter with the mud amusing. If she hadn’t felt so mortified at being stupid enough to get both lost and stuck Posy might have considered her rescuer attractive.

(C) Nell Dixon 2012

Friday, April 6, 2012

Author Recipe: Lorna Doone Dessert

Written by: Lisa Orchard

Since I’m a chocolate lover (more of a chocolate addict!) this dessert is now a tradition at our family holidays. The combination of the chocolate with the whipped cream is “to die for.” I love taking it to functions because it’s always a hit, and people think you’re an awesome baker. Little do they know this is the only dessert I can make! Well, at least the only one I want to make. Some people have raised concerns about the raw eggs in this, but when you add the yolk to the hot chocolate, it actually cooks them. So, no worries! I hope you enjoy this dessert as much as my family and friends have. If you have any questions shoot me an e-mail atlisa.orchard1@hotmail.com.


Lorna Doone Dessert

Ingredients:

1 package Lorna Doone cookies crushed

Add melted butter to cookies (this is the crust so add as much butter as you prefer; about ¼ to ½ of a stick)

1 7 oz Chocolate chips

2T Sugar

2-1/2 T water

4 egg yolks

1 teas. Vanilla

4 egg whites

Crush Lorna Doone cookies and add melted butter for the crust. Put crust in 10” baking dish and bake at 350 degrees until crust starts to brown. Combine chocolate chips, sugar, and water in double boiler until blended. Remove from fire and add egg yolks, beat after each one. Add vanilla. Chill for a short time maybe 10 to 15 minutes or until the pan is cool to the touch on the bottom.

Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into chocolate mixture. Spread over cooled cookie crust and top with whipped cream.

**I usually double this and put it in a 9x13 dish.


~~~


Blurb:

This book opens in a small town in Michigan where fifteen-year-old Sarah Cole is stuck spending the summer at her Aunt and Uncle’s with her sister, Lacey. She’s not happy with the situation until she befriends a girl named Jackie. The three girls stumble upon the ruthless murder of a reclusive neighborhood woman. One of the officers investigating the crime believes the girls are responsible for her death. Fearing that this officer will frame them for the murder, the girls organize their own detective squad. They become the Super Spies and start their own fact-finding mission. The Super Spies can’t understand why anyone would want to murder the “Cat Lady” until they start digging into her past and discover a horrible crime that happened thirty years ago. They uncover a connection between the two crimes and attempt to bring this information to the police, only to be reprimanded for meddling in the inquest. Not only are the girls upset by the admonition, but they also struggle with the fact that their exuberant investigating could provide a legal loophole allowing the killer to go free. To make matters worse, the police don’t even believe them. Frustrated by this turn of events, the Super Spies realize it’s up to them to snare the Cat Lady killer.

Excerpt:

Alarm bells rang in Sarah’s head—this has to be out of character for someone who never leaves their home. She turned back and whispered to the other girls. “Hey!”

Jackie poked her head out. “What?”

“The storm door’s open.”

“So?”

“So…what do I do?”

“Duh…Ring the door bell.”

Sarah shrugged and pushed the doorbell. It let out an irritating buzz and she had the feeling it had been broken long ago and never fixed. She dashed down the stairs. The cats scattered, alarmed by the sudden activity. Reaching the shrubs, Sarah hid with her sister and Jackie.

Gasping for breath, Sarah waited for a reaction from the old woman. Her heart pummeled her ribs and she pressed her hand to her chest to calm it.

After a few minutes, Sarah started to pace. “Well…nothing’s happened.” She peeked out from behind the shrub and saw the screen door hanging ajar. “I bet she’s not even home. I’m going to try again.”

Jackie shrugged. “Be careful, remember she’s a witch.”

Sarah shook her head, and then peered out from behind the shrubs. Once again, she climbed the stairs. She was braver this time and it didn’t take her as long to make it to the door.

She looked inside, her heart lurching in her chest. She tiptoed to the picture window and peered through it. Gasping, she ran back to the entryway. Pulling it open, she lunged inside.

Sarah stared, unable to tear herself away. Shock ran through her body like an electrical current as she eyed the scene before her. The crumpled form of the Cat Lady lay on the living room floor, just inside the door. No life flickered in the old woman’s staring eyes. Her mouth gaped open in a silent scream and her hands were up around her head as if she were warding off blows. Turning away from the Cat Lady’s body, Sarah gagged as the coppery scent of blood assaulted her. There was blood splattered everywhere, on the wall, on the carpet and under the Cat Lady’s body.

Suddenly, Sarah’s throat constricted and she gasped for breath. Fearing she would faint, she stumbled back out the door and collided with Jackie and Lacey on the porch.

Jackie grabbed Sarah’s arm and shook her. “What are you doing? Are you crazy? I never said to go inside!”

Sarah didn’t speak—she just stared blankly at the porch.

Jackie shook her again. “Are you under the Cat Lady’s spell?”

Lacey whimpered. “Hey, Sarah….can you hear me? Sarah?”

“She’s under the Cat Lady’s spell,” Jackie said waving her hand in front of Sarah’s eyes.

“Oh my---,” Sarah moaned and clutched Jackie’s arm.

“What is it?” Jackie shook her again. “Speak…say something!”

“Th-th-the C-C-Cat Lady, sh-sh-she’s,” Sarah stuttered.

“She’s what?” Jackie demanded.

“Sh-she’s dead.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

What's New?


It's new release day at Astraea Press. Check out the great releases we have for you today!


Price: $2.99

Buy it HERE.

What happens when a rebel meets a runaway?

He’s not looking for love...

Confirmed bachelor Theo Cavanagh is dashing and free-spirited. Not for him a career in the clergy, the military or politics - he’s more interested in wine and horses. But when Theo happens upon a pretty but thoroughly exasperating young fugitive, he soon finds himself caught up in her adventures, and in a passion that can’t be denied.

She has to search her heart...

Unconventional Sophie Devereux is more comfortable climbing trees than the social ladder. An audacious escape from scheming relatives is only the start of Sophie’s mission to achieve a long-held dream, but Sophie carries a secret that inspires hatred, envy and greed. She can’t outrun the danger that stalks her, or her powerful response to Theo which leaves Sophie shaken to the core and questioning her deepest, most enduring desire.










Price: $2.99

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Michael Drake, a part-time private investigator and part-time jazz club owner, starts the day as he has many others, doing a favor for a friend. In doing so, he falls right into the middle of a torrid affair. As Michael tries to decide whether or not to tell his friend of his wife's indiscretion, she is murdered.

Through no fault of his own, Michael is entangled in a murder plot that reaches back to his days in college. The problem lies in the fact that, in clearing himself, he may implicate the friend that he intended to help. That is only the beginning when murder and passion collide in a small south Louisiana town. When the true killer is revealed, Drake must deal with the consequences and the lives he helped destroy.