Spotlight on Spooky Places: Haunted Flint by @RoxanneRhoads & Joe Schipani

Hi Everyone! I’m starting Halloween month one day early here with a look at spooky locales in Flint, Michigan. Read on for more scary details, brought to you by authors Roxanne Rhoads & Joe Schipani. Boo! xo, Celia
P.S. Tune in tomorrow for info on Bewitching Book Tour’s Halloween Spooktacular Event! (book info, giveaways, FB party, and more! 🙂

Haunted Flint book cover

 
Title: Haunted Flint
Series: Haunted America Series
Authors: Roxanne Rhoads and Joe Schipani

Publisher: The History Press

Release Date: September 2, 2019

ISBN-10: 1467143049
ISBN-13: 978-1467143042

Sinister Secrets in Flint’s History

Home to ancient burial grounds, unsolved murders, economic depression, and a water crisis, Flint emits an unholy energy rife with ghostly encounters.

Colonel Thomas Stockton’s ever vigilant ghost keeps a watchful eye over his family home at Spring Grove, where guests occasionally hear the thump of his heavy boots.

Restless spirits long separated from their graves lurk among the ancient stones in Avondale Cemetery.

Carriage maker W.A. Paterson’s spirit continuously wanders the halls of the Dryden Building, and something sinister and unnamed resides in a Knob Hill mansion waiting to prey on impressionable young men.

Join authors Roxanne Rhoads and Joe Schipani on a chilling tour of Flint’s most haunted locations.

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About the Authors

Roxanne Rhoads author photoRoxanne Rhoads is an author, book publicist, mixed media crafter, and lover of all things spooky.

Roxanne is the owner of Bewitching Book Tours, a virtual book tour and social media marketing company, and she runs the blog, A Bewitching Guide to All Things Halloween, which is dedicated to everything Halloween related. Roxanne’s sells handcrafted jewelry, art, and home decor through The Bewitching Cauldron.

When not reading or writing, Roxanne loves to craft, plan Halloween adventures, and search for unique vintage finds.

Joe Schipani author photo

Joe Schipani is an integral part of Flint’s Art Community with ties to local artists, galleries, book stores, and the Flint Cultural Center. He is the Executive Director of the Flint Public Art Project and the FFAR Project Assistant at the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.

He has a weekly column on A Bewitching Guide to All Things Halloween titled Freaky Flint History which showcases true crime and weird but true tales of Flint deaths.

Visit them online at:

Haunted Flint | Haunted Flint – Facebook | All Things Halloween – Facebook | All Things Halloween Blog | Etsy – Bewitching Cauldron | Bewitching Cauldron – Facebook

Spotlight on Guardians of Light #fantasy #romance Series by @ReneeWildes

Hi Everyone! I’m pleased to welcome fellow Champagne Books author Renee Wildes to the blog today. Please enjoy a look at her fantasy romance series Guardians of Light, including an excerpt from Book 5, A Guardian’s Destiny. Be sure to enter her giveaway, too. Enjoy! xo, Celia


Title: A Guardian’s Heart
Series: Guardians of Light Book 1
Author: Renee Wildes
Genre: Fantasy Romance

Strength can be drawn from pain…if the heart can heal faster than it bleeds.

Dara Khan Androcles was trained from childhood to be a healer. But as a demon-possessed invader threatens Safehold, and she defends a wounded warrior on the battlefield, her hidden inner dragon thirsts for blood.

When she lifts the warrior’s blond, blood-encrusted hair away from his ear, she discovers he is more than King Hengist’s outlander ally. He is an immortal. The elven heir to the throne of Cymry.

Loren ta Cedric senses something different about flame-haired, falcon-eyed woman who saves him. A healer, wreathed in raw, dark power, who wields knives with deadly skill. A mortal who prays to the Lady, not the human gods. Now he owes this thoroughly distracting female a Life-Debt. Which, in the heat of their flight to Loren’s homeland to raise an army, somehow becomes Life-Mate.

Dragon-human and elf, peasant and prince, logic says they have no future. Yet the power of their unlikely bond could be the only thing that saves their world from a demon poised to tear it apart.

Warning: This new twist on Cinderella contains a grouchy dragon, a sentient war mare with the dry wit of a certain English Dame, and a fiery heroine who strikes serious sparks with a mercenary elf.

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Title: A Guardian’s Hope
Series: Guardians of Light Book 2
Author: Renee Wildes
Genre: Fantasy Romance

As a child, invaders butchered Maleta’s parents and left her ravaged body for dead. Now, reborn as a finely-honed weapon for the Gray Goddess, Maleta has shed the burden of emotions for one goal—regain her homeland for her brother.

Cianan ta Daneal’s mission to the fractured land of Shamar is twofold: to overthrow a despotic queen, and to save a life. For months, he’s been haunted by recurring visions of a beautiful swordswoman slaughtered by a skeleton army. He never expected to lay eyes on that woman and recognize her as his Lifemate—or that she’d turn and run like hell.

Uniting Shamar’s diverse peoples in revolt is easy compared to the delicate task of wooing a woman who flinches from his touch.

Slowly, Maleta dares to hope that her country, what’s left of her family, and her shattered heart are safe in Cianan’s steady hands. But when the cold blade of fate strikes true, can she trust his love is strong enough to pull her back from the Abyss?

Warning: This new twist on Sleeping Beauty contains an assassin nun who knows no fear. Okay, just one fear, but it’s a biggie. And an Elven paladin with the Devil’s own negotiating skills. To coax her heart out of hiding, he’s gonna need every one of them.

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Title: A Guardian Revealed
Series: Guardians of Light Book 3
Author: Renee Wildes
Genre: Fantasy Romance

Years ago, the pull of the full moon and a powerful curiosity drew Finora into a human fisherman’s bed—a man who stole her selkie skin and took its location to his grave. For seven years, trapped on land, she has searched fruitlessly. Hope fading with every passing year.

Tasked with finding and returning dragons to his mountain homeland in the east, Trystan follows a slim lead westward across an unfamiliar sea. When pirates attack his ship, leaving him with injuries too severe for his werewolf to heal, he comes face to face with the most unexpected of rescuers—Finora, her two, half-human children, and the biggest damned dog he’s ever seen.

Tristan and Finora’s attraction is instant, undeniable, and hopeless. Finora is pulled to the sea, Tristan is tied to the land. But Finora can help him complete his mission, and share one night of searing, heartbreaking passion. And memories only the deepest of betrayals could shatter…

Warning: Contains Celtic legends, seven-year curses, dragons with bad attitudes, imperiled children, a grumpy sea goddess, and wave upon wave of soul-searing pleasure.

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Title: A Guardian’s Dream
Series: Guardians of Light Book 4
Author: Renee Wildes
Genre: Fantasy Romance

Plagued with nightmares of a goblin child tormented by monsters—and with her usual cures having no effect—dream faerie Pryseis journeys to the Shadowlands to heal the child in person even though doing so risks the wrath of the faerie council. And, if she’s away from home too long, her very existence.

Caught and imprisoned by an ungrateful goblin sorcerer, she’s now trapped underground, chained, her despair growing as her time ticks down yet warmed by the memory of a man she has only touched in dreams.

Benilo ta Myran drained his spirit healing powers during the war, but he has no choice. The beautiful faerie in his dreams is in trouble, and not even his worried king and queen can stop him from trying to save her before the darkness snuffs out her light.

Finally they are together—chained side-by-side in a goblin dungeon. Their only hope for escape is to break the law to merge their powers in a ritual so intensely erotic it binds them for life. However short and nightmarish that life might be…

Warning:
Beware beautiful faeries and hot elves appearing in your dreams. They may lead you astray…and steal your heart.

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Title: A Guardian’s Destiny
Series: Guardians of Light Book 5
Author: Renee Wildes
Genre: Fantasy Romance

On what should have been Verdeen’s proudest day, she is blocked from advanced warrior training because no war mare chooses to bond with her. Burning with humiliation, she accepts a lesser assignment to the Isle of Ice, serving as bodyguard to human riever, Daq Aryk.

Verdeen’s never paid much attention to men, so focused was she on her training. But she quickly realizes hieing off into a distant wilderness with Aryk is a bad idea. He makes her lose all focus and perspective.

Aryk faces a difficult task: molding six warring clans into a peaceful whole. He’s got nothing against women warriors, but Verdeen is young and inexperienced, her beauty a potentially fatal distraction. She’s a shield-maiden, not a bedmate. But the way she melts at his every touch erodes all his good intentions…and sense.

One kiss unleashes the kind of feverish desire that should occur only once in a lifetime—with a mate. But as their quest takes ever more dangerous twists and turns, their bond could be the one thing that unites a nation. Or make Aryk’s worst nightmare a blood-soaked reality.

Warning:Contains fire and ice, ever-gratuitous sex and violence, sword play and self-play, spying and lying, noble intentions and betrayal. In other words, a rollicking good roll in the proverbial hay.

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A Guardian’s Destiny Excerpt

 

Aryk’s mother, Gefjun, greeted him at the entrance to the village. Leave it to her not to stay hidden as ordered. Her calloused, scarred hands crossed her swords over her belly. Silver braids encircled her head like a crown. His red seeker dog, Fiske, sat at her feet, plumed tail sweeping the trampled snow.

“Stand down, Mother.” Aryk bent to rub the dog’s pricked ears. “’Tis safe for them to come out now. We held the wolves at bay.”

“Pity.” Her green eyes glittered in the twilight as she sheathed her swords and whistled the all clear. “I rather anticipated a good fight. Been too long.”

Not long enough. “The children?”

“Safe, although Joro snagged a knife to go help you.”

The women and children emerged from their homes, looking around for familiar faces. Uncertainty and fear lingered in the air. ’Twas no way to live.

“Tell me you disarmed him.” Aryk shuddered at the notion of his mischievous five-year-old son in the conflict.

Stuffed with grand tales of heroic warriors by his mother, Dagmar, Joro yearned to join the men. Aryk pictured his sole surviving heir lying dead on some future battlefield, those sparkling blue eyes forever vacant. A nightly terror.

Nay, he’d find a way to end this madness. Joro and the other children would enjoy a better life than their parents, with more options than raiding, bloodshed, and death. Nice, long, peaceful lives.

“Acourse I disarmed him. Come.” Even a daq heeded her tone.

He followed her through the milling flocks to her sod-and-stone round hut, dropping the hide door covers for privacy. Smoke from the peat fire undulated around him. He took the cup of schnae she held out, let the bite of the spirits clear the melancholic fog. “I’ve but a moment. We go to Ulryk’s village.”

“How’d the men take the news?”

“They don’t get to enjoy the spoils of war?” He grunted. “How do you think?”

“Find Ulryk’s captive Shamaru lass from my vision and bring her here. Make no mistake—allow your men free rein and lose your one hope of success.”

Hope. Such a frail, mighty word. “You’re certain we’ve still hope for peace? Even after today? Daq Beloq comes south with the thaw. This year decides it.”

“There’s always hope. If we continue as we are, we destroy ourselves. Things must change. Shamar can help us.” His mother studied him across the undying flame, the hearth fire that never went out. “We can’t keep burning our dead children.”

The flames danced in the dark as he weighed her truth. The fire kept the dwelling livable, an oasis of warmth on a wind-blasted plain of bone-shattering cold. But ’twas more. The light in the darkness symbolized the stand of reason against savagery.

“We can be better men than we are now. Myrtaq died for naught than a senseless raid like the one today. ’Tis no honor in it.”

The younger brother he failed to protect. How many more must they burn, lose to battle, disease, privation? When would the body count be too high?

“I miss him too. The pain of losing a son never fades.”

How well he understood her truth. Two lads and a lass he lost before the age of three, ’til but Joro and Birgit remained.

Joro lying in a pool of his own blood, slain with his own sword…wielded by a black-haired woman with one green eye and one brown eye…

Gefjun cleared her throat, jerking Aryk back to the present. “When you reach Ulryk’s village and find this Shamaru woman I spoke of, how will you get her to listen to, much less trust, you?”

“I’ll prove to her I’m naught like Ulryk.” Gods, he wanted a bath. He reeked of battle, of blood, sweat, and spent rage, but Ulryk’s village beckoned.

Gefjun’s eyes blazed as she pinned him with her gaze, held him as she circled the fire to within a handspan of his face. “You’re exactly like him, born and bred of this land.” She spun away. “You hide it better than most.”

Her truth cut him to the heart. Hai, lia sang fierce, an elation during battle which blocked all else. It flowed in his blood, through his bones. Lia replaced pain, fear, doubt. Men who succumbed to that sweet siren song lost all reason, as apt to turn on their comrades as the enemy. As savage as wounded snow bears. Aryk stared at the flames, tossed back the last of the schnae, then rose to his feet.

Men were more.

He was more.

Time to prove it. To his men, to himself. To the rest of the clans on Isadorikja, this frozen iceberg of an island. Mayhap someday to the rest of the world.

A man had to believe in his dreams. What else was there?

“Stovak nos briel, Warrior.” Gefjun held open the door.

Destiny awaits.

 

About Renee Wildes

Award-winning WI author Renee Wildes grew up reading fantasy authors Terry Brooks & Mercedes Lackey. A Joseph Campbell fan, when she discovered romance novels she was fated to write fantasy romance. A mythology & history buff, from ancient Sparta through the Dark Ages, a Navy brat and a cop’s kid, she gravitated to protector/guardian heroes & heroines. She’s had horses her whole life, becoming the only vet tech in a family of nurses. It all comes together in her Guardians of Light series for Champagne Book Group and her paranormal title “Marek’s New World” for Tirgearr Publishing – fantasy, action, romance, heroics and lots of critters!

Connect With Renee Wildes

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Renee Wildes Guardian Series Tour Giveaway

For a chance at $25 Amazon GC, enter the Renee Wildes – Guardian Series Tour – Rafflecopter Giveaway. And Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

Release Day for the Tranquilli Bloodline #vampires: ORIGINS by @celiabreslin

Hello Dear Readers!

I’m pleased to announce that the third book in the Tranquilli Bloodline series has released! *happy dance* I’ll be on a month-long online tour with my vampires in October, which includes a multi-author FB party, book chat, and giveaways. More details to come in my next post on the subject. For now, please enjoy an excerpt from the story.
xo,
Celia

Origins book cover by Celia Breslin

 
Title: Origins
Series & #: Tranquilli Bloodline, #3
Author: Celia Breslin
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Champagne Book Group
Release Date: September, 2019
ASIN: B07Y8R94Z5
ISBN: 9781771559805
# of pages: 250
Word count: 94,000
Cover Artist: Melody Pond

The Chosen One is home. Bad little vampires beware…

In HAVEN & DESTINY, San Francisco nightclub owner Carina Tranquilli finds love and fights her vampire family’s enemies. Now, in ORIGINS…

En route to reunite with her estranged father in Italy, Carina is kidnapped by a human organization intent on vampire genocide. Beaten, starved, and forced to fight fellow captives, she finally manages to escape. Along the way, she encounters the group’s leaders—their identities shock her to the core.

Once home, Carina warns her family of this new threat, but dear old dad is missing. In his absence, the Tribunal, the governing body for all vampirekind, lies in disarray, with an old enemy making a bid for her father’s throne. What’s worse? The usurper wants her for his queen…and slave.

With a human-vampire war looming on one side and a vampire-vampire battle brewing on the other, Carina will have to rally her troops, take back the throne, and fulfill her destiny as the Chosen One. If not, her whole world will fall, taking everyone she loves with it.

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ORIGINS Excerpt

 

The armed guards disappeared through the double doors, leaving me alone with the six, unchained old-timers.

[…]

I cleared my throat to gain their attention, expecting them to attack fast, like the newbies my captors usually tossed my way, young vamps who thought me easy prey, one lone young woman, dirty and frail. Once within reach of my hands, they all died quick…burn, bad little vampires, burn. These seasoned pros simply stared.

Damn it.

Eyes vampire-black and fangs bared, the taller three of the gang sidled left. Two more, short and stocky and scowling like vicious trolls, faded right.

The last vampire worried me the most. While the others pressed forward across the huge space, he leaned against the wall, crossed his arms over his chest, and smiled, a cold, I-am-the-devil smile not even remotely reaching his blue eyes. Pretty eyes, too. A rich, vibrant blue like the Mediterranean Sea on a sunny day. High cheekbones. Eyelashes so thick it looked like he wore mascara and eyeliner. Cute dimples, perfect nose, and an artfully messy, short haircut for his shiny black hair. All this and his casual yet clearly expensive black pants and tight black shirt gave him the look of a male model prepped for the camera.
His delicate features and full red lips tugged at my memory. Did I know him? No, doubtful I’d forget a demon in such a pretty package.

As the five circled me, I kept my arms loose at my sides and willed my fangs to retract before they noticed them, then gave the advancing assholes a sweet, I’m an innocent little human girl smile, all the while keeping my primary focus on the real threat in the back of the room.

“You look exactly like your father.” Smiley addressed me in English with a posh British accent.

Given the confused and cranky glances he garnered from the men, they didn’t understand English.

Color me shocked by Smiley’s comment, but first things first. “Hold that thought, handsome.”

He barked a laugh. “You certainly don’t have his temperament.”

“Don’t be so sure about that.” I waved a hand at the vamps. “They don’t understand English, do they?”

“Not a word. They’re foot soldiers, by the way.” He tapped his forehead. “Not very bright.” He jerked his chin at the trolls. “Russian.” Then at the other three. “Italian. Not very good soldiers, mind you, given they were captured.”

“Uh, look in the mirror lately?” I gestured at him and the room.

Smiley shot me another shit eating grin.

Several feet separated me from the advancing vamps. I raised a palm, addressing them in Italian. “Stop. Five against one little girl?” I made a point of looking at their groins then wiggling my pinkie. “You not man enough to fight me one on one?”

The three Italians took the bait. One crept forward. I let him come, ducked his punch, then took him out with a right hook to the knockout spot on his jaw. He crumpled to the ground. Yeah, Jonas had taught me well.

Smiley clapped. “Bravo.”

I curtseyed and motioned to Italian jerk number two. “Dai.” Come on, let’s go.
This one wasted less time playing with his food, aka me, and blurred forward in vampire hyper speed. I dodged his attempt to grab me and landed a nice kick in his kidneys sending him stumbling forward.

My speedy sidestep alerted the foot soldiers they weren’t messing with an ordinary human. The third Italian hissed and flew at me. Literally. I crouched, and he collided with his pal, toppling them both to the ground in a growling heap.

I smirked. “Oopsie.”

They shot to their feet in that creepy as-if-pulled-by-puppet-strings way only the older vampires seemed to have mastered. Their eyes glowed black with rage and power. Fangs bared, their expressions promised pain.

I unfurled my power and fired up my palms, let my fangs lengthen and my eyes bleed to black, the shift in the latter a cool and soothing waterfall sensation, such a contrast to the heat coursing through the rest of my body.

“Bring it, old dudes.”

They blurred forward right into my waiting palms.

Can’t say I enjoyed their agonized screams as my fire power blazed through their circulatory systems and burned them from the inside out. And I’d never grow accustomed to the smell of fried organs and burning flesh. Fortunately, the more I used my power—and my captors had forced me to use it a lot—the faster I seemed to fry vamps. This time seemed like five seconds, tops.

I held my breath as their ashes swirled around me then settled on the floor.

The two Russian trolls dropped to their knees and bowed their heads. “Printcessa Tranquilli.” Didn’t require a translator for that bit of Russian. My unique power had shown them who they dealt with.

Smiley clapped and pushed off the wall. “Bravo. My brother was right about you.” He stepped between the two subjugated vamps.

[…]

Brother? Good grief, not another complication. Besnik knew my dead mother, this one’s brother knew me… I help up a hand in warning. “That’s close enough, Smiley.”

“Smiley?”

“Me Carina, you Smiley.”

Tranquilli Bloodline Series Reading Order

While each story can stand alone, with a conflict that is resolved at the end of its book… If you enjoy watching a hero’s journey as he/she grows and changes over time after facing and overcoming a slew of struggles, then I’d recommend reading the series in order — Haven, Destiny, Origins. Happy reading!

Spotlight on #PolyRomance: @Brantwijn Serrah’s Chasing Ghosts in the Night

Hello Dear Readers! Brantwijn Serrah is back with the second book in her new reverse harem romance series, Shifter’s Dawn. Info on the first book is here. For maximum enjoyment, read them in order. Enjoy!

Chasing Ghosts in the Night book cover by Brantwijn Serrah

 
Title: Chasing Ghosts in the Night
Series & #: Shifter’s Dawn, #2
Author: Brantwijn Serrah
Genre: Reverse Harem romance, Poly romance

She has twenty-one days. All she has to do… is the impossible.

Elaina Jacob traveled to Siberia to escape a life of suffocation and toxic relationships back home. She never imagined her escape attempt would lead her into deep into the Stolby wilderness, and the tribe of ancient shapeshifters living within its sacred woods.

Finding herself falling for a trio of otherworldly outcasts, Elaina dares to believe in love—and herself—again. But in order to remain with her new mates, she must become like them: a shapeshifter, blessed by their goddess… something no human has managed in thousands of years.

With a zealous alpha watching her every move, and the tribe’s mortal enemies lurking in every shadow, Elaina only has until the summer solstice to prove, to herself and all the tribe, that she belongs with them.

Fans of The Southern Vampire Mysteries, the Anita Blake series, and Immortals After Dark will love this new paranormal romance and reverse harem series, Shifter’s Dawn.

*Buy Link*

Chasing Ghosts in the Night Excerpt

 

“Nikita!”


Elaina Jacob pounded a fist on the door of the neat wooden dacha house. “We’ve got business, Nikita!”

The house stood alone, just on the edge of a field in the Stolby woods. The land was restricted, far out in the quietest reaches of the nature preserve, where park visitors were not typically allowed. From the road—really no more than a rough dirt path—Elaina’s mate Grisha sat astride his motorcycle, watching her with his customary cool, inscrutable gaze. He’d brought her to the home of the oboroten leader over the protests of her other mates Gavri and Kolya, but he had no intention of confronting the alpha wolf alongside her. Grisha understood Elaina had to handle this herself.

Only a few days ago, she’d met with Nikita in public, before all the wolves of the Stolby pack. She’d only meant to plead with him for a pardon of Gavri and Kolya, whom he’d exiled from the pack and from their lands. Instead, she’d lost her temper, and wound up challenging Nikita for the mantle of alpha wolf.

Now she had until the summer solstice—just a little over three weeks—to learn the ways of the oboroten, claim the power to change her shape, and fight Nikita for his title.

Not exactly the best way to make friends, Elaina.

She delivered another series of furious knocks to Nikita’s door. “Come on, you know why I’m here!”

The door opened abruptly, and her next blow fell not on handsome teak but on the tall, striking man who filled the doorway. Her hand hit his chest with a dull smack and, startled, Elaina snatched it back.

“Oh!” She brought her fingers to lips in surprise. “Sorry, I didn’t mean—”

Nikita cocked an eyebrow at her. He stood more than a foot taller than she, and regarded her with a lazy, disinterested expression. He hardly seemed to have noticed she’d hit him at all. Crossing arms over his chest, he leaned against the doorjamb, and his fair blonde hair fell carelessly in his eyes. His impeccable white polo shirt bore a small logo on the left side, and for a moment she thought it was the tiny, familiar Lacoste alligator. As she looked closer, though, she discovered it to be—what else?—a small wolf in silver thread, embroidered in mid-run. The logo, she imagined, of the Stolby tribe’s trade enterprise.

“Did you need something?” Nikita asked.

“I want to know who attacked Kolya,” she demanded. “Three mysterious assailants, Nikita. Day before yesterday. Ring a bell?”

He shrugged. “I know nothing about it.”

“I think you do.” She squared off with him. “They put him in the hospital. You gave me your word you’d call off the blood hunt until our duel. He’s one of your pack, Nikita!”

The alpha wolf tilted his head to the side, frowning. “Human,” he said, with a hint of growl in his voice. “I keep my word. I didn’t send anyone to hurt your dog.”

Don’t call him a dog,” she hissed.

Nikita straightened. Looking past her, he spied Grisha by the road. He tipped a wave at the other man, and asked her, “Is he your chaperone? Did you bring him along to protect you from the big, bad wolf? Or can I invite you in to discuss this like two normal, rational adults?”

Elaina glanced over her shoulder at her mate. Grisha looked aloof as ever, but his bright green eyes were locked on her. He was more focused on their exchange than he appeared.

“I’m not afraid to come in,” she told Nikita. She gave a nod to Grisha, and he returned it without getting off the bike. He’d wait.

Nikita stepped aside and gestured for her to enter.

Inside, the dacha was bright and tidy, surprising her. She didn’t know what she expected from Nikita—maybe an overtly masculine den full of mounted animal heads, antlers and bearskin rugs and pewter beer steins on a rough wooden table. To the contrary, the house looked modest. Downright warm. The living room opened up on her left, lowered a step, filled with soft, mid-morning light from a wide bay window. A small fire burned in the hearth before an arrangement of a loveseat and two easy chairs. Stretched out on the loveseat, nose in a book, sat Nikita’s sister, Sofie. She paused in her reading, marking her place with her finger, and peered up at Elaina with distrustful eyes.

That’s right. I forgot he had a sister. Does she live here with him?

Nikita said something to Sofie in Russian, and the girl nodded, rolling up from her spot on the couch and slinking off down the hall. Gavri had told Elaina Sofie was a wildcat shifter, unlike rest of her family, who were all wolves and part of the Stolby pack.

Oboroten—a tribe of shapeshifters following the ways of Diezana, spirit mother of these lands—didn’t choose the bestial forms they took when they shifted. The wolves of the Stolby tribe, like Nikita, Gavri, and Kolya, formed a pack, and the pack doubled as the tribal leadership. But not all the oboroten became wolves. Some, like Grisha and Sofie, became large hunting cats. Rini, the sweet and smiling housekeeper employed by Gavri’s family, turned into a snowshoe hare.

How involved are they in making decisions? Elaina wondered as Sofie disappeared. Does she resent not being a part of the pack, like the rest of her family?

Hard to tell. Sofie wasn’t just a cat; she was a teenager. Sulk factor doubled.

Elaina switched her attention back to Nikita and gave a start when she found him closer than she’d expected. Nikita leaned toward her and his nostrils flared, pupils dilating. She stepped back, refusing to cringe, but she recognized the expression on his face. She didn’t like it on him. Not Nikita.

“The outsider too, hm?” His lips curled into a hint of sardonic grin. “You’re collecting boy toys just like keychains and tourist tchotchkes, aren’t you?”

Heat flashed at the back of her neck. “Excuse me?”

He strode past her, into the airy, open kitchen. “You have Grisha’s smell on you. Him, Gavri, and Kolya. You’re a salacious woman, aren’t you?”

“I thought your tribe acknowledged such arrangements. A marriage of many hearts, didn’t you call it?”

“We do. Among alphas. You’re not one of us nor are you a leader, so in your case, it’s just kinky.”

 

Tracks in the Snow book cover by Brantwijn Serrah

About Brantwijn Serrah

Brantwijn writes paranormal and supernatural fiction, both romantic/erotic and non-erotic. Her influences include authors such as Stephen King, JK Rowling, Jennifer Roberson, Jim Butcher, Kresley Cole and Charlaine Harris. Almost everything she writes also takes a strong influence from music, particularly Florence +The Machine, Lady Gaga, Sarah Brightman and Nightwish. She’s a fur-mommy to four cat children and one dog too smart for his own good, and is happily married to a wonderfully supportive husband.

Connect With Brantwijn

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Spotlight on Reverse Harem: Leaving Tracks In The Snow by @Brantwijn Serrah

Hi Everyone! The fabulous Brantwijn Serrah is here today with her new poly romance series, Shifter’s Dawn. Info on the first book is below. Next week, I’ll spotlight the second book. It’s recommended you read them in order. Enjoy!

Leaving Tracks in the Snow book cover by Brantwijn Serrah

 
Title: Leaving Tracks in the Snow
Series & #: Shifter’s Dawn, #1
Author: Brantwijn Serrah
Genre: Reverse Harem romance, Poly romance

Can she save her fated mates from exile?

Running wild in the Siberian wilderness, an ancient tribe of shapechangers guards against incursion by their corrupted cousins: the twisted and malevolent skinwalkers.

Elaina discovers a new world of myth and magic when two beautiful shifters save her from freezing in the Siberian snow. But in a time of fear and danger, her heroes face banishment from their own kind. In order to save them, Elaina must become the first human in thousands of years to learn their ancient magic.

Fans of The Southern Vampire Mysteries, the Anita Blake series, and Immortals After Dark will love this new paranormal romance and reverse harem series, Shifter’s Dawn.

*Buy Link*

 

 

Leaving Tracks in the Snow Excerpt

 

Elaina set down the coffee mug and picked up one of the photos. This one showed only Gavri’s mother, sitting cross-legged in a field of yellow grass and tiny lavender flowers. She held in her hands the same strange canvas object currently hanging on the wall right behind Elaina.

“This is not the bedroom I had in mind for you, krasavitsa.”

She jumped, dropping the picture and grabbing uselessly for it as it clattered to the floor. Relief washed over her when it didn’t break, no doubt saved by the cloud-soft carpet. Before she could pick it back up, though, a figure swept in past her and snatched it, returning it to its place.

Elaina spun to find Gavri only inches away, arms crossed over his chest, expression grim. She backed against the dresser before she could think better of it, and he moved with her, leaning in, putting one hand on the wood to either side of her, pinning her there.

“Something in here catch your fancy?” The low growl in his tone brought up the hairs on the back of her neck. His eyes had changed again to full, flooded black, like shining ink, cold with anger.

“I’m sorry, Gavri,” she said, her flimsy excuses flying away like frightened birds. “I—I shouldn’t have been in here.” Why did she suddenly think of Dominic and his heartless proclamation? It’s just not working. You’re a burden, Elaina.

She’d crossed a line. What if she’d now upset Gavri too much? Would he throw her back out into the snow, too much trouble to bother with?

Her apology didn’t appear to move him. He cocked his head to the side and looked as though he would say something else, when he paused. He sniffed once, then closed his eyes to lean closer and draw in a deep breath.

Her scent. Just like the night before, he was taking in her scent, and evidently enjoying it. Elaina opened her mouth to explain her behavior—maybe if he was soothed somehow by the bath oils or the fresh, damp aroma of shampoo, he’d be more forgiving—but all at once whatever had hit him knocked her for a loop, too. She groaned as the smell of his skin reached her, the sharp but not unpleasant aroma of hard-earned sweat and earth, sun and pine.

Gavri closed the distance between their bodies, pressing her against the dresser and lowering his mouth to her throat. His kisses sparked an instant thrill in her, a shudder of sweetness tingling through her skin. An adamant hardness pressed against her thigh and she had only enough time to realize he’d gone from very angry to seriously aroused in about forty-five seconds, when he spun her away from the dresser and flung her to the bed.

She did not object.

Gavri lunged over her, grasping at the belt on her robe, and she marveled at his heavenly, delectable scent. “What is this?” she asked as he fell upon her in the sheets, kissing and nuzzling. “What… what is it making us… so insane?”

He only growled in answer, and straightened just long enough to work at his belt. A girlish giggle doused the sudden heat, though: Elaina and Gavri both snapped to attention and looked toward the sound.

Rini stood in the doorway, smothering a laugh with her hand. Her cheeks pinkened with a delicate blush, but no hint of shyness or scandal as she gazed at their half-naked forms.

“Oh!” Elaina snatched at the sheets to cover herself. Rini waved a hand dismissively.

“I guess I would be all coiled up and hungry for some exercise, too.” She shook her head. “But you’ll both have to hold off a bit. Dinner’s ready.”

Without waiting for an answer, she disappeared into the hall. Elaina stared at Gavri. Gavri stared back at her. Spell seemingly broken, he slipped away from her to rearrange himself.

“What was that?” Elaina sat up and fixed her robe. Gavri didn’t respond. When she looked up, he’d turned his attention back to the pictures she’d been examining. His frown returned as he adjusted a couple she’d examined.

“Gavri?”

He said nothing as he extended a hand and helped her up from the bed.

“It’s rude to snoop through people’s things,” he growled. “I could give you a pass, Elaina, considering the ordeal you’ve been through. But I really, really don’t appreciate people invading my space.”

Elaina refused his hand, coming to her feet and squaring off with him.

“You’re right, Gavri. I shouldn’t have come in here and I have no excuse. I’m sorry for that. But you need to tell me the truth! I’m not going to just go away and forget what you and Kolya did for me. Or what I saw.”

She crossed her arms over her chest and pinned him with a firm gaze. “Tell me about the wolves.”

 

Tracks in the Snow book cover by Brantwijn Serrah

About Brantwijn Serrah

Brantwijn writes paranormal and supernatural fiction, both romantic/erotic and non-erotic. Her influences include authors such as Stephen King, JK Rowling, Jennifer Roberson, Jim Butcher, Kresley Cole and Charlaine Harris. Almost everything she writes also takes a strong influence from music, particularly Florence +The Machine, Lady Gaga, Sarah Brightman and Nightwish. She’s a fur-mommy to four cat children and one dog too smart for his own good, and is happily married to a wonderfully supportive husband.

Connect With Brantwijn

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | GoodReads | Amazon Author Page

Cover Reveal: Tranquilli Bloodline Series by @CeliaBreslin

Hello Dear Readers!

It has been waaaaay too long since my last post. I hope all is well in your worlds. As for me, I have some spiffy new covers from graphic designer Melody A. Pond for my Tranquilli Bloodine vampire series, yay! You, my faithful readers, along with the Decadent Divas blog visitors (where I post on the 30th of every month), are the first to see them. I love them so much, and I hope you do, too!

xo, Celia…

Haven by Celia Breslin new book cover

Destiny by Celia Breslin new book cover

Origins by Celia Breslin new book cover

 

Coming Soon

That’s all for now, my lovelies. I’ll be back on the blog soon with info on my upcoming ORIGINS book tour and some fun Facebook parties (with prezzies!), too. xoxo

 

Spotlight on #HistoricalFiction: Stanley and Hazel by @AuthorJSchaffer

Hi Everyone! Hope you had a sweet Valentine’s Day. Shifting gears from romance to historical fiction today, with a look at “Stanley and Hazel” by Jo Schaffer. Be sure to enter J. S.’s tour giveaway for a chance at a gift card. Read on for book and giveaway details. Enjoy! xo, Celia…

Bewitching Book Tour of Stanley and Hazel by Jo Schaffer, Feb 18 to Feb 25

 

Stanley and Hazel by Jo Schaffer book cover 
Title: Stanley and Hazel
Author: Jo Schaffer
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Month9Books
Date of Publication: May 15, 2018
ISBN: 978-1946700650
ASIN: B07982QYX4
Pages: 280
Cover Artist: AM Design Studios

A great depression grips the city of St. Louis in 1934. Stanley, an orphaned newsy, lives in a poor part of town hit especially hard by the economic downturn. One night, Stanley runs into Hazel, a restless debutante-in-waiting who has begun to question her posh lifestyle in the midst of the suffering she sees. She’s out and about without an escort and against her father’s wishes.

When they discover the body of a girl with her head bashed in by a baseball bat, the very different and separate realities of the two teens inform their decision. Together they will figure out what happened to her and bring those responsible to justice.

But getting involved with each other and digging into the secrets behind this murder earns them some powerful enemies, including a secret group seeking to rid society of all they deem “undesirable.” They’ve put into motion “The Winnowing,” a plan seeking to take over the city and enforce their will.

As Stanley and Hazel’s forbidden feelings for one another grow, their investigation turns deadly. Now, it is up to Stanley and his gang of street kids to stop Hazel from becoming the next victim.

Amazon | Meet The Author Video

Stanley and Hazel Excerpt

 

Hazel stumbled down the grassy hill of the moonlit park. Stanley glanced at her from several steps ahead. “You with me, Bananas?”

“Yeah.” She swallowed back the urge to be sick. Hazel’s legs moved her forward but nothing seemed real. She was in Forest Park at night with a newsie boy she’d just met and Sandy’s runaway sister was back there, slumped against the statue of St. Louis with her head cracked open.

She couldn’t make her brain take it all in. Evelyn’s face—caved in on one side, her mouth slack, teeth showing like gravestones covered in blood. Gripped with panic, Hazel quickened her step to catch up with Stanley—her only guide in this darkness. He was a part of it. This was his world, not hers.

 

Jo Schaffer photoAbout Jo Schaffer

Jo Schaffer was born and raised in the California Bay Area in a huge, creative family. She is a YA novelist, speaker and a Taekwondo black belt. She’s a founding member of the nonprofit organization that created Teen Author Boot Camp, one of the nation’s biggest conferences for teens where bestselling authors present writing workshops to nearly a thousand attendees. Jo loves being involved in anything that promotes literacy and family. She is passionate about community, travel, books, music, healthy eating, classic films and martial arts. But her favorite thing is being mom to three strapping sons and a neurotic cat named Hero. They live together in the beautiful mountains of Utah.

Web site | Instagram | Facebook Author Page | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | YouTube | GoodReads | Snapchat: jojoschaffer

Jo Schaffer’s Bewitching Book Tour Giveaway

Visit Jo Schaffer’s Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance at a Starbucks or Amazon e-gift card (winner’s choice) plus one e-Book of winner’s choice.

 

Spotlight on High Heat #Romance: The Mediator by Candace Laville @LavilleAuthor

Hello, Dear Readers and Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m super psyched to share a new erotic romance series with you, The CUPID Dating Agency. It’s a multi-author, shared-world series populated with demons, angels, humans, and of course, cupids. Each story is a unique, standalone read. I’ve been invited to write stories for the series — hurray! — and will give you all a look at what I’m whipping up later this year. First up in the series for February we have Candace Laville’s high heat menage, “The Mediator”. Enjoy! xo, Celia…

The Mediator book cover, by Candace Laville, The CUPID Dating Agency series

 
Title: The Mediator
Author: Candace Laville
Series: The CUPID Dating Agency
Series #: First book in series (standalone read)
Genre: Adult, erotic romance (HEA, ménage, threesome)
Publisher: Smart Heart Publishing
Date of Publication: February 5, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-911573-13-5
ASIN: B07L4XRBC1
Page/Word Count: 86 pages / ~25,000 words
Cover Artist: Pam Palmer

General elements: angels, demons, Valentine’s Day, humor, very explicit sex scenes, strong language; heat level 5, reading time ~2.5 hours

That Kerry’s birthday falls on the most romantic day of the year sucks. That she’s set up on a date with both an angel and a demon sucks worse. But she’s about to discover that being trapped between good and evil makes for one hell of a good time.

Mike and Cal, angel and demon, are reluctant business partners. To help them get along, Cupid sends a mediator called Kerry, but rather than working on a truce, the guys are soon locked in a different battle, this time over Kerry’s smoking curves.

Universal link | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Nook | Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords | GoodReads

The Mediator Excerpt

(First Meet, Cal’s POV…)

“My dear Miss Dalton.” The cupid pressed a button at the side on his chair. A motor whirred as his seat rose up. “The terms and conditions set out that the appointment is to last twenty-four hours.”

“That’s crazy.” She ripped the card out of his hands and held it in front of her. “Twenty-four hours? What kind of date lasts twenty-four hours?”

Any date with me, baby.

“This one will.” The cupid didn’t relax his tone.

She slumped her shoulders. “Fine. Do you have a photo database of losers, or do I pick a name from a hat?”

He aimed his hand at Mike and me.

We practically shot up in unison.

“Oh.” Her gaze, from light-blue eyes, drifted from me to the angel. “Sorry about the loser comment.”

I smirked. “No problem.”

Angel sissy to my left mumbled something incomprehensible. Yeah, dude had no idea how to handle a woman like that.

She leaned toward the cupid and cupped her mouth. “Which one?”

The cupid beamed. “Both.”

Kerry coughed into her fist, eyes wide. “Ha. You nearly had me. Seriously. Which… Which one?”

“Both. This is not a date, though, you understand. The cupids’ responsibilities go far beyond merely pairing up couples. I’m pleased to tell you that we have determined that you are a rare mediator, the perfect match for these two gentlemen.”

She faced us, her hands gripping the edge of the desk to her left and right. Her clothes looked like she’d got dressed at night, but I was more interested in what lay beneath anyway.

“A mediator?” The poor baby almost hyperventilated.

Mike leaped forward and guided her to his chair. His hand oh-so-accidentally brushed her full breasts.

What a dick.

 

About Candace Laville
Candace is a UK author who writes romance and erotica. When she’s not engrossed in writing, she enjoys traveling and sightseeing, and adding to her ever-growing shoe collection.

Look her up on GoodReads | Follow her on Amazon

About The CUPID Dating Agency

The secret is out: angels and demons walk among us. The Cupid Dating Agency, once merely responsible for aligning the fates of compatible humans, have expanded their portfolio. Operators of luxury cruises and charitable organizations are as valued as casinos and trendy bars, and it’s up to the cupids to find the angels, demons, and humans who will run these businesses. Should a heavenly attraction between the participants lead to all sorts of sinful fun, well, that’s just the icing on the cake.

Spotlight on #ParanormalRomance: Albion Moon by @MLMastran

Happy New Year, Dear Readers! To kick off the new year of reading recs, fellow Champagne Books author is here to share the first book in her paranormal romance series. Read on for details, an excerpt, and a link to her tour giveaway. Enjoy! xo, Celia…

Bewitching Book Tour image for Albion Moon, book by author M L Mastran, tour dates 1/28 - 2/11

 

Albion Moon book cover, book by author M L Mastran
Title:
Albion Moon
Author: M. L. Mastran
Genre: Mystery, suspense, paranormal romance
Publisher: Champagne Books
Date of Publication: August 2018
ISBN: 978-1-947128-36-1 (e-book)
ISBN: 978-1-947128-37-8 (print)
Page/Word Count: 171 pages / 94,000 words
Cover Artist: Creative Paramita

Stand up and fight or lose everything.

Evaline’s brother is missing. She’s desperate to find out what happened to him. As she digs deeper into his disappearance, the mystery reveals an ancient family secret carried through the bloodline that began centuries ago in the Scottish Highlands.

As this secret from the old world closes in on Evaline, she tries to sort through her disconcerting feelings towards the mysterious Mason. He not only seems to always know when she is in danger, but he is insistent on protecting her, no matter the cost.

As the old world collides with the new, Evaline discovers she must choose to stand and fight or risk losing everything, and everyone, she holds dear.

Champagne Books | Amazon | LuLu | B&N

Albion Moon Excerpt

Over the next couple days, I picked up applications from the couple of banks and other places in town as well as in Shasta, the next town over. On Thursday, Kristy, Lizzy, and I hung out and went for ice cream downtown. We hit a couple of stores as Kristy wanted to get some clothes. I loathed clothes shopping. I peeked at the racks while Kristy tried stuff on and Lizzy weighed in. She got a text. One of the other servers had called off, and Mason needed her to come in.

“I have to get to work. Sorry, Kristy,” Lizzy said.

“That’s fine,” Kristy said. “Can we get some lunch there when we take you in?”

I shook my head slightly at her scheming.

“Absolutely,” Lizzy said, looking at me. “Let’s go.”

We piled into my car and headed out onto Old River Road. It was a great day for a convertible ride. The late summer sun beamed on us as we drove down the road. I had AC/DC blaring, and as we rounded a curve, I heard a siren. Peering into my rearview mirror, I eyed the red flashing police lights atop one of the town’s two SUV police units.

Kristy glanced back. “What the fuck? You weren’t speeding.”

I looked down. I was just below the speed limit. After I pulled over, I got out my registration and insurance. The cop approached my door, and what I saw caused a huge lump to form in my throat.
Campbell had a smug look on his face as he spoke. “License, registration, and proof of insurance please.”

I handed them over without making eye contact.

He examined my license, which still had my Sacramento address on it. “A little way from Sacramento, Miss Bennett, aren’t we?”

“Yeah, I guess I am.”

“Where are you headed right now?” His tone turned from mocking to icy.

“I need to get her to work,” I said, indicating Lizzy.

He eyed Lizzy, who appeared annoyed by his questions. “Oh, a Cowan sister. How fitting. Tell your brother I got a nice cell waiting for him.” She didn’t say anything as his attention moved back to me. “So, are you here on vacation?”

My blood boiled as the dream I had with Jimmy came back to me. I glared at Campbell. “I’m visiting family for a while.”

“So, what is the address you’re staying at in town?”

“What does that matter?” Kristy interrupted any response I was about to make. “What the f—?”

“Smart ass like your brother,” he said, cutting her off. “He’s a great bunk mate for Jonas.”

Now speechless, she sat there.

After opening my door, he indicated for me to move. “Please step out of the vehicle.”

Not wishing to cause a scene, I complied and stood by my car.

He turned me around. “Face your car, hands on the hood.”

Kristy found her voice again. “Are you fucking kidding me? We weren’t doing anything!”

Campbell flashed her a look. “Shut up and don’t move.” He then patted me down. “Do you have any weapons or drug paraphernalia I need to be aware of?” He spun me back to him.

Looking at him dead in the eye, I answered, “No.”

Holding my elbow, he walked me toward his vehicle as he eyed Kristy and Lizzy, who were clearly uncomfortable with what was happening. Despite my apprehension, I followed him. He took me behind his patrol truck and returned my license.

“I suggest you watch yourself, Miss Bennett. These back roads are dangerous, and if something were to happen, it could be quite a while until you’d be found.” My stomach churned as he leaned into me and whispered, “A woman like yourself, all alone, might entice trouble.” He reached for my breast, and I reacted quickly.

Shoving the bottom of my palm up into his lip, I knocked him back but didn’t wait to see his reaction. I returned to my car, got in, then took off. I was sure he was going to follow, but he didn’t.

Kristy turned to me. “We need to report him, Evaline. That was wrong in so many ways.”

Shaking my head, I said, “It will make things worse, trust me. Just forget it, okay?”

She gave Lizzy a concerned look, who then asked, “Why did he take you back there?”

I didn’t say anything as we drove into the parking lot, parked, then got out.

Kristy was still fired up. “This is such bullshit. He made a move on you, didn’t he?”

“Just drop it, Kristy, okay? It’s over. I wanna forget it.”

The dust kicked up in the parking lot as we made our way through the front doors. A few patrons were seated at the bar, and several booths and tables were occupied. We headed to an open booth as Lizzy returned to the back.

While still a bit shaken from the encounter, I pondered what had just happened. A knot was in the pit of my stomach as thoughts raced through my mind.

Does he know I know what he is? Will he try to hurt what family I have left? Will he hurt me to find out what I know? I thought of my dream again—Jimmy had warned me. Or will he kill me?

 

About M. L. Mastran
Author M L Mastran headshot
Nothing captures the attention of M.L. Mastran more than writing a good story with amazing characters and a history arc that made the history books. This is Albion Moon in every sense.

On the flip side, M.L. can also journey to another world completely and pull the same elements with fantasy and make the reader yearn for more. Her uncanny ability to blend genres makes her unique to the literary world and an absolute reading joy. From the first moment you open the page, curiosity will pull you in and keep you engrossed in the story as you take the voyage with the characters to different places and times; to experience the events as they unfold.

Whether being told from a one character perspective or several points of view, her stories will unfold in your mind like a movie playing in your head. This is what pushes M.L to write her stories. It’s the thrill of the read and the drive to carry readers away that will make this trip to the literary world of imagination all the sweeter.

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M. L. Mastran’s Rafflecopter Giveaway

M. L. Mastran is giving away One (1) signed copy of Albion Moon, open to US Shipping. To enter her tour’s official rafflecopter giveaway, visit her Albion Moon Tour Giveaway Page.

Celia’s Favorite #Holiday #Dessert #Recipes

Season’s Greetings Dear Readers!

I hope you’ve had a wonderful December. To close out 2018 and the last holiday celebration of this year, I’m sharing three of my favorite, dessert recipes. They appeared in the blogosphere around this time least year, and the first two are on the Decadent Divas blog today, but I’m posting all three here for you, too! I hope you enjoy them as much as my family does. Bon appetit!

Holiday Spritz Cookies

spritz cookies

Recipe compliments of my mother. Requires cookie press.

3/4 cup regular sugar (some recipes call for “powdered”, but mom swears by regular!)
1 cup margarine, or butter, or shortening (mom uses shortening; I use butter. Both are delish.)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. In a bowl, mix together margarine (or butter or shortening), sugar, vanilla, egg until fairly fluffy.
3. Stir in flour, salt, baking powder.
4. Optional: separate dough into bowls, add food dye of your choosing (see photo).
5. Fill cookie press; press dough onto ungreased cookie sheets.
6. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes.
7. Remove from sheet and cool on cookie rack.
8. Eat. All. The. Cookies!
 

tom and jerry holiday house, san francisco

Holiday Caramels

Recipe compliments of my grandmother.

1 can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 cups white sugar
2 cups white Karo Syrup
1 stick of butter (1/4 lb.)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Mix together the first three ingredients (milk, sugar, syrup) in a large bowl.
2. Melt the butter in a large heavy kettle, pour in the mixture and bring to a boil.
3. Stir continuously while mixture boils until it reaches the temperature of 245 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer (can take up to 25 minutes).*
4. Once the 245-degree temperature is reached, remove kettle from stove.
5. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract, then pour mixture onto a large buttered cookie sheet or flat pan.
6. Cut into pieces, wrap with plastic wrap or your candy covering of choice (or eat All The Candy, LOL).

* Note: If mixture overcooks, candy gets too hard.

story mansion, ashbury heights, san francisco

Snickerdoodles

Recipe compliments of my grandmother

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup margarine, butter, or shortening (my grandmother uses shortening)
1 – 2 tsp. vanilla (grandmother uses 1 more often than 2)
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. In a small bowl, mix the tablespoons of sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
3. Mix together margarine (or butter or shortening), sugar, vanilla, eggs.
4. Combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt. Add to wet ingredients.
5. Form one-inch or 1 1/4 inch balls, and roll balls in sugar/cinnamon mixture.
6. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, cook for 8 – 10 minutes.
7. Remove from sheet and cool on cookie rack.
8. Eat. All. The. Cookies!

Happy new year!

xo, Celia

Photos:
First home = Tom and Jerry’s House, a San Francisco Historical Landmark.
Second home = Storybook House, decorated for every holiday!
All photos (cookies included) by moi.

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