Sunday, June 30, 2013

Taryn's Snippit Sundays~ CASTAWAY HEARTS~ Now she felt free. #excerpt

Twice orphaned, Catherine Barrett arrives in Virginia a stranger to her closest kin and secretly engaged to the one man her family would disapprove of—her seafaring grandfather’s apprentice. Add to her troubles, the rich and intriguing older brother of her secret betrothed, Dawson Randolph, a plantation owner who is as heartless as he is handsome. Heartbroken when her intended sets sail for his maiden voyage, Catherine finds it difficult to adjust to her new life, hoping to befriend the one man who is, undoubtedly, the match her grandparents wish for her. Dawson’s distaste for her secret engagement to his brother makes it clear he has no designs for marriage to anyone. Especially her.

Ten years since the tragic loss of his young wife and infant son, Dawson Randolph is convinced love and marriage is a fool’s game and resents being pardon to his brother’s hidden engagement. Damned by his instant attraction and his own growing desire, Dawson vows to befriend her against his better judgment. Determined to bring her happiness in a time of fear and uncertainty, Dawson puts aside his animosity to become her confidant, only to realize Catherine holds the key to his heart. When tragedy strikes at sea, Catherine’s guilt pushes Dawson to the fringes of her life as madness consumes her.

Can his love save her before she drowns in her own grief? Or is he doomed to love her from a distance, always in the shadow of her love for his dead brother?
****
Catherine tossed and turned. She could not sleep. Dawson’s words and the way he looked at her when she asked about Nathaniel preoccupied her thoughts. His eyes made her feel defiant and wild…and weak in the knees.

Unable to stay still, she threw off the quilt and sheet and slapped her bare feet on the cool hardwood floor.

A warm summer breeze blew past the curtains and it almost seemed light out. Catherine tiptoed to the doorway leading to the balcony and eased it open for fear the hinges would squeal under the strain. She stepped out past the screen door on silent feet, uncertain if it would squeak as well and placed her hands on the banister. A thin cool layer of dew moistened her fingertips. She shook the drops loose and wiped her hand dry on the side of her gown with a shiver.

The moon rose up, almost full, lighting the outdoors as though it were daylight. The sound of the ocean waves crashing on the shore called to her.

She discovered a set of stairs at one end of the balcony. Pausing at the top with a moment’s hesitation, Catherine snuck out and ran down the hillside and around the cliffs. She held her nightgown up off the ground and let the sand slide between her toes, reminded of all the blissful summer days she and Grandmother Emily spent on the shore in search of shells on one of their many picnics.

Cooler than she anticipated, it didn’t deter her from meandering along the shoreline, close enough to feel the frosty bite of the seawater as it sluiced over her feet.

Ah….

Now she felt free.

Now she felt at home.

The shoreline and the roar of the ocean waves soothed her soul and drowned out all her other worries.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Way to a Man's Heart- Brown Sugar Broccoli #recipe #goodeats

The Way to a Man's ♥
Brown Sugar Broccoli
It's a given that not everybody likes broccoli. My husband sure doesn't and I used to forgo my desire for it because no one else in the house would eat it. Now my daughter will eat it but normally my stepson, who's 15 doesn't like it either because his mom fixes broccoli & cheese sauce and he HATES it...BUT, he loves broccoli when I fix it this way and it's one of the quickest, easiest recipes I've come up with. It has a wonderful Asian flare to it and I hope that this simple side dish will be an added favorite to your meals.

Ingredients:
Broccoli florets
2-3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
2-3 Tablespoons Butter
1-2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
Salt, to taste

  1. Steam broccoli approximately 15-20 minutes or until fork tender.
  2. Melt butter, brown sugar together with soy sauce and pour over broccoli to coat.
  3. Add salt to taste, depending on whether you prefer the sweet flavor or a bit more saltiness.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Taryn's Snippit Sundays~ CASTAWAY HEARTS~ #excerpt Handsome and she hated him for it.


 Twice orphaned, Catherine Barrett arrives in Virginia a stranger to her closest kin and secretly engaged to the one man her family would disapprove of—her seafaring grandfather’s apprentice. Add to her troubles, the rich and intriguing older brother of her secret betrothed, Dawson Randolph, a plantation owner who is as heartless as he is handsome. Heartbroken when her intended sets sail for his maiden voyage, Catherine finds it difficult to adjust to her new life, hoping to befriend the one man who is, undoubtedly, the match her grandparents wish for her. Dawson’s distaste for her secret engagement to his brother makes it clear he has no designs for marriage to anyone. Especially her.

Ten years since the tragic loss of his young wife and infant son, Dawson Randolph is convinced love and marriage is a fool’s game and resents being pardon to his brother’s hidden engagement. Damned by his instant attraction and his own growing desire, Dawson vows to befriend her against his better judgment. Determined to bring her happiness in a time of fear and uncertainty, Dawson puts aside his animosity to become her confidant, only to realize Catherine holds the key to his heart. When tragedy strikes at sea, Catherine’s guilt pushes Dawson to the fringes of her life as madness consumes her.

Can his love save her before she drowns in her own grief? Or is he doomed to love her from a distance, always in the shadow of her love for his dead brother?

 ****

   Once within the entryway of the house, out of her grandparents’ vision, she dashed up the stairs and into her room. She slowed down long enough to shut the door without rattling its hinges then threw herself across the bed. Pent up tears streamed out of her eyes and scalded her cheeks.

   How could it be Nathaniel was so kind, good, and sweet and his brother the opposite?

   She never met a man so dead set against marriage or more dead set against her in all her life.

   He doesn’t know me!

   How could Dawson think he knew what was best for her or Nathaniel?

   How could he pass such harsh judgment before they spoke more than a few words to one another?

   It only made sense that if word came from Nathaniel while away, it would reach Dawson first, and Catherine hoped he would be kind enough to keep her apprised of Nathaniel’s journey. To make friends with the Randolph family had been a goal she planned with good intention, for it would make life much easier when Nathaniel returned and announced their engagement. She would already feel like part of their family.

   What a cruel twist of fate. Dawson was arrogant, impersonal and so very opinionated. Worse yet, Catherine thought him the most beautiful creature she ever laid eyes on.

   He was handsome and she hated him for it. Even more so, she hated to admit him even more attractive than Nathaniel was.

   Curses, what makes me think such horrid thoughts? Catherine’s heart stuck in her throat.

   Her silent admission of attraction left her awestruck. 
   He is not my intended. He is the brother of my intended.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Way to a Man's Heart- Easy Chicken #Alfredo #recipe #goodeats

The Way to a Man's ♥-
Easy Chicken Alfredo

We used to use a lot of the boxed dinners from Betty Crocker and Banquet, but there's just nothing like the taste of something made mostly from scratch- it's how I came up with our Beef Stroganoff recipe and several others, including this Easy Chicken Alfredo.

Ingredients-
2 Chicken Breasts
2 Chicken broth boxes
1/2 stick of butter
1 pound Penne Noodles
2 Jars Classico Alfredo (usually the Creamy Alfredo and the 4 Cheese Alfredo)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions-
  1. Simmer Chicken in broth with 1/2 stick of butter, salt and pepper until done. (I usually simmer it a couple of hours before mealtime.)
  2. Drain chicken and cut into bite size pieces.
  3. Add Penne Pasta to the broth.
  4. Cook pasta until done, al dente- Drain in colander.
  5. Mix back into pan- pasta, chicken and both jars of sauce.
  6. Simmer until warmed thoroughly and serve.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Mother Nature Mondays~ #TigerLilies & Memories #beauty #childhood #friendships


It would seem that the spring flowers are winding down in my yard. My rose bushes are all flowered out, at least for the moment until they start to gain new growth. I know I have day-lilies on their way in and gladiolus, but for now here are my tiger lilies that stand tall and willowy next the front porch and down near the kids' swing set.
Tiger lilies grow quite wild here in Kentucky, often seen on the roadside in the country and always bring a smile to my face cause they remind me of my Mom's we had in the yard when I was growing up. I was always mesmerized by them and I'm not sure why.

Perhaps mostly for the simple fact that they do remind me of my mom, of home and childhood and they announced the end of school and the approach of hot fun-filled summer days of freedom. They remind me of that one-piece bathing suit I had when I was like 9 or 10 that had blocked off colors so it reminded me of the rainbow. It was the bathing suit I wore when we had the banana slide spread out in the backyard and beneath that yellow plastic was a patch of dying grass, flattened and turning yellow itself from lack of sun exposure while my skin reddened beneath the scorching 80-100º temperatures and sometimes upwards of that as well.

They remind me of the tiny rainbows in the spray that arched up from that silly plastic banana water hose nozzle, misting through the air and filling it with a sense of innocence and magic as we took the plunge and dove headfirst down the slippery plastic, zipping so quickly that you bound off the end right into the grass that eventually became like a muddy puddle if you played long enough.
I remember summers when it was sweltering hot- the 1980s in Central Kentucky were full of days like that- days before we had central air in our house in the suburbs- when we only had one window a/c in my parents' bedroom and my mom hung a deep red velvety bedspread up to block off the back bedrooms and the bathroom to keep us cool.
I remember stepping outside onto the the hot concrete porch barefoot and doing the dance of the burning feet. I remember feeling instantly engulfed by the heat as it swallowed you up and enveloped your senses, your body, feeling the chill of the a/c drain from you swiftly as the warmth of the hottest days of summer infused itself into your pores, your muscles and down to the core of your bones.

I always liken it to dragon's breath, so thick it seemed palpable. Thick enough to cut through with a knife and sometimes so tangible it made it hard to breathe. Those were days when a glance up the street gave way to the illusions, the rippling waves of heat rising from the asphalt, the trickery it played on your eyes when it looked as though a streak of black oil lay across the roadway up head but then vanished as you approached.
A while back, one of my best friends and I took our daughters (two oldest are 10 and the youngest is 6) to the park in my hometown so we could walk around the path and they could play at the playground. We'd barely circled a couple of times when the girls decided they'd had enough of the "heat" and wanted to go home.

It's was barely in the 80's that day and there was a decent breeze. Not like the days we recalled from childhood and we told them, "When it's 106º in the shade and there's no breeze and the humidity makes the air so thick you can hardly breath and you're left with little to do but lay inside where the a/c can blow on you, then come talk to us about it being hot."(We must do something about this generation of softies.)
Yes those summers were scorchers, but I remember spending most of my time out there in it, either riding my bike all over the neighborhood or through that very same park to go get a pop from the soda machines next to Wal-Mart or IGA. We embraced the heat, the sticky grime at the bends of our elbows and knees and the trickles of sweat at our hairline. We didn't cry over the blisters on our ankles from wearing sweaty plastic Jellies or strappy sandals. We lay on blankets in the shade, my Magnovox plugged to the porch by the orange lifeline of an electric cord while we listened to the music of our generation~ Madonna and Michael Jackson, Guns N Roses and Debbie Gibson.
Summer days seemed to last forever back then. The days dragged on through the heat while we huddled under makeshift tents my mom showed us how to set up in the backyard with a blanket over a couple of lawn chairs. The bowls of popcorn, plates of cookies and jugs of Kool-Aid she made for us and for those extra hot days, numerous plastic strips of Flavorice Popsicles and running through the sprinkles. As the day wore down, we'd chase the ice cream truck for Rocket Pops and didn't venture indoors until well after the lightning bugs came out, the street lamps flickered on and the stars ground the sleep from their eyes and came out to shine in the black night sky.

Twinkle twinkle little star... make a wish....

I hope someday my daughter has good memories like these of childhood. I hope things I have in my yard conjure up a plethora of memories for her as well.

 Happy Monday Dear Hearts!
Maybe it exceed your expectations, bring you smiles, joy and laughter. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Taryn's Snippit Sundays~ CASTAWAY HEARTS Marriage isn't the obvious conclusion... #excerpt

Twice orphaned, Catherine Barrett arrives in Virginia a stranger to her closest kin and secretly engaged to the one man her family would disapprove of—her seafaring grandfather’s apprentice. Add to her troubles, the rich and intriguing older brother of her secret betrothed, Dawson Randolph, a plantation owner who is as heartless as he is handsome. Heartbroken when her intended sets sail for his maiden voyage, Catherine finds it difficult to adjust to her new life, hoping to befriend the one man who is, undoubtedly, the match her grandparents wish for her. Dawson’s distaste for her secret engagement to his brother makes it clear he has no designs for marriage to anyone. Especially her.

Ten years since the tragic loss of his young wife and infant son, Dawson Randolph is convinced love and marriage is a fool’s game and resents being pardon to his brother’s hidden engagement. Damned by his instant attraction and his own growing desire, Dawson vows to befriend her against his better judgment. Determined to bring her happiness in a time of fear and uncertainty, Dawson puts aside his animosity to become her confidant, only to realize Catherine holds the key to his heart. When tragedy strikes at sea, Catherine’s guilt pushes Dawson to the fringes of her life as madness consumes her.

Can his love save her before she drowns in her own grief? Or is he doomed to love her from a distance, always in the shadow of her love for his dead brother?
****
       “How dare you, Mr. Randolph. You know very little of me or my heart.” The slender column of her throat quivered as she held herself in control. “It’s obvious you know your brother even less. We love each other. What other possible conclusion is there than to enter into holy matrimony when two people love each other?”
      “Marriage isn’t the obvious conclusion to anything. Sometimes love’s not enough to make it endure, though I have a feeling it’s not truly about that anyway,” Dawson bit back. “Those who marry are foolish, as it is. Those who do so with naïve fantasies and daydreams are even bigger fools. That would make my brother the biggest fool of them all if he were to marry you.”
       “I’ve heard enough from you, Mr. Randolph. Your opinion is of little or no consequence in the matter and you may keep your assumptions to yourself. It’s clear you know nothing.”
        Catherine gathered her skirts in her white knuckled fists and stormed away, strands of her auburn hair, loosed from her hairpins, whipped around in the breeze.
        Damned fool! Dawson cursed himself and stomped off down the hill toward his horse. Women weren’t worth the aggravation.

Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Way to a Man's Heart- Sausage Green Pepper Mastaccioli Penne #Pasta #recipe #goodeats

 The Way to a Man's ♥-
Sausage and Green Pepper Mastaccioli Penne Pasta
 

Ingredients-
1 lb pork sausage (you can substitute turkey sausage or other breakfast style)
1 Box Mastaccioli Penne Pasta (16 oz I believe)
1 or 2 Green Peppers
1 Jar Spaghetti Sauce (of your choice- we like Classico Fire Roasted Tomato & Garlic)
1 8 oz Italian Blend Shredded Cheese

Directions-
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350º
  2. Brown and crumble sausage in skillet, drain off any grease
  3. Add sliced green pepper chunks and cook until green peppers are tender to your liking
  4. Add sauce and let simmer
  5. Meanwhile, boil pasta until al dente, drain water
  6. Mix pasta and meat sauce together
  7. Pour into 13X9 casserole dish, sprayed with a bit of cooking spray
  8. Sprinkle top with entire bag of Shredded Cheese
  9. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and dish is bubbly

Serves well with salad and Italian dressing and/or garlic bread sticks.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tuesdays with Taryn #NewRelease from @halleeb A MELODY FOR JAMES #ebook #Indie

Another exciting debut from a fellow Kentucky Independent Author! Check it out! 

 A Melody for James, Part 1 of the Song of Suspense Series.
(click image above to buy on Amazon!)
Melody Mason and James Montgomery lead separate lives of discord until an unexpected meeting brings them to a sinister realization: unbeknownst to them, dark forces have directed their lives from the shadows, orchestrating movements, keeping them singing solo. Fire, loss, and bloodshed can’t shake their faith in God to see them through as they face a percussive climax that leaves hearts forever changed.
 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Solitary strangers meet during a stormy stopover.
Hours later, their hearts hum a harmonious duet.

Melody Mason has the hottest female voice in the country music scene. But the cheers of all her adoring fans across the world mean little in the absence of the handsome stranger who rescued her years before.
Widower James Montgomery has never gotten the singing heiress he encountered during an unscheduled airport layover out of his mind. Years later, their paths cross in the most amazing circumstances. They know God brought them back together for a purpose.

Reunited once more, sinister forces threaten to destroy their newfound happiness. Uncannily, they learn they share much more in common than they could ever fathom. The couple must work in close concert, placing all their faith in God as they solve the deadly mystery that ties their lives inexplicably together time and again.
Fire, loss, and bloodshed can’t shake their faith in God to see them through as they face a percussive climax that leaves hearts and lives forever changed.


A Melody for James, coming this Saturday-
June 15th!

You can find out more about Hallee and her other books at her
WEBSITE and BLOG
Follow her on Twitter
Find her on Facebook

Also available on
Smashwords

Monday, June 10, 2013

Mother Nature Monday- Everything's Coming Up #Roses #beauty #flowers

It's another wonderful Monday and we're closing in on the beginning of Summer, so time again to share more beautification from my yard, and my mom's yard- pictures I took while I was up visiting in the last part of May.
  My yard is looking a mite bare now of roses as they've all petered out, but my mom's red, pink and yellow knock-out roses are probably still thriving- and SO beautiful!













 Pull up a chair and enjoy!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Taryn's Snippit Sundays~ Fire & Ice in her eyes #Snippits #excerpts CASTAWAY HEARTS


Twice orphaned, Catherine Barrett arrives in Virginia a stranger to her closest kin and secretly engaged to the one man her family would disapprove of—her seafaring grandfather’s apprentice. Add to her troubles, the rich and intriguing older brother of her secret betrothed, Dawson Randolph, a plantation owner who is as heartless as he is handsome. Heartbroken when her intended sets sail for his maiden voyage, Catherine finds it difficult to adjust to her new life, hoping to befriend the one man who is, undoubtedly, the match her grandparents wish for her. Dawson’s distaste for her secret engagement to his brother makes it clear he has no designs for marriage to anyone. Especially her.

Ten years since the tragic loss of his young wife and infant son, Dawson Randolph is convinced love and marriage is a fool’s game and resents being pardon to his brother’s hidden engagement. Damned by his instant attraction and his own growing desire, Dawson vows to befriend her against his better judgment. Determined to bring her happiness in a time of fear and uncertainty, Dawson puts aside his animosity to become her confidant, only to realize Catherine holds the key to his heart. When tragedy strikes at sea, Catherine’s guilt pushes Dawson to the fringes of her life as madness consumes her.

Can his love save her before she drowns in her own grief? Or is he doomed to love her from a distance, always in the shadow of her love for his dead brother?



         “Mr. Randolph?” Catherine’s soft tones tinkled in his ears. “Have you talked to Nathaniel?”
       Their walk took them near the edge of the cliff.
      “Oh, yes. I saw him earlier today.” Dawson drew on his pipe and turned his gaze toward the sea. He kept his attention on a gull soaring on the air current high above the ocean.
     “Did he say anything to you—of importance?”
      Dawson turned to face her once more and saw the pleading in her eyes. Irritation filled his gut and fire burned his insides. She hungered for any word of his brother, any crumb of information he might have in his regard. Gall bit at his throat when he spoke.
    “Yes, he mentioned your plans. He confided his intentions, though I can’t say I agree.” Dawson paused, well aware that his next words would sound bitter and opinionated. “I know Nathaniel well. He’s not mature enough, even at his age, to know what marriage entails, and I don’t know you well enough to make that kind of judgment, but I rather doubt you do either.”
      Fire and ice flickered in her eyes, scorching him in the sunset glow as her face twisted, her eyebrows furrowed in anger so cold it gave him a chill.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Way to a Man's Heart~ Momma's Sugar #Cookies #recipe #sweetsforthesweet

The Way to a Man's ♥-
Momma's Sugar Cookies

Ingredients
3/4 cup part butter, part shortening- softened
1 Cup sugar
2 Eggs
1- teaspoon Vanilla
2 1/2 Cups of Flour (self-rising)
 
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400º
  2. Mix all ingredients, adding vanilla last
  3. Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour
  4. Flour countertop, roll out and cut with favorite cookie cutters (mine happen to be butterflies)
  5. Bake for 6-8 minutes, keeping a close eye on them as they brown QUICKLY
Frosting options-
BEFORE BAKING- Brush with egg whites and sprinkle with colored sugar or favorite sprinkles
~OR~
Forgo egg white wash and sugar and use Powered Sugar Icing recipe AFTER baking the cookies, recipe listed below—

POWDERED SUGAR ICING

1-2 Tablespoons Milk
2 Tablespoons Butter
Powdered Sugar until desired consistency is achieved.




Thursday, June 6, 2013

Thursdays with Taryn~ Join me in talking about nothing much... #Life #Time #Determination #Blessings

I honestly don't know what to write about anymore. I used to post blogs almost daily and never failed to ramble on about something. That was also during a time in my life when I was most productive in my novel writing as well. Perhaps I need to do this as an experiment to see just where my thoughts veer off the path today. And maybe I need to do this more often to keep the writerly juices flowing...

We'll see...
I've still been struggling with myself- my journey- as a writer. I finished the edits of Love By Design a while back, but I withdrew into myself and I'll admit, I've been suffering with a bit of self-doubt that I'm just starting to feel lifting its weight off of me.

I've been in avoidance mode, or it feels that way. If I don't think about it, maybe my not-up-to-snuff stories will just vanish. I've let this drag me under the tow for a while now, but I think I'm starting to resurface and I'm catching my breath again. Perhaps I will find my inspiration and desire once more and stop letting the childish part of me wallow in massive heap of self-pity. I have work to do, it's just a matter of slapping myself around some and knocking the good sense back into me.

I know it does me no good to wallow like I have been, but I just feel at a loss, uncertain where I'm heading with my writing and my life, and sometimes I feel like I'm going at this all wrong, or totally alone. A lot of the time, it looks something like this blurry mess below- rolling down a secluded back road, a solitary traveler with a dirty windshield who's moving so swiftly I can't enjoy the scenery or stop to think for a while. Maybe that's just Life whisking by and it's pulling me along with it whether I want to go that fast or not.
It would be great if Life would slow down for us, but it doesn't. If we don't enjoy it, it will get away from us and that goes for all things- whether it's enjoying the flowers blooming in your yard, a quiet sunset, watching your children grow up, celebrating another year of marriage, finishing those novels you set out to write from the heart, cherishing the time with your parents, siblings and extended family and friends.

We need to make the most of all the time we have in this Life~ relish it, enjoy it, revel in it, rather than wallow in the muck and mire, allowing the negative to suck us under and try to drown us.

Take time to breathe today, look around you and count your blessings!
I know I'm going to because I have so many wonderful things to be thankful for.