SQ’s Preposterous Black Friday Shopping Adventure

black-friday-specialsSo there I was with my annoying cranky old benevolent and faithful chauffeur, at 6:08 am ready to get into the car and take off on our misshapen exciting shopping adventure. It was Black Friday and we were armed ready with a big heavy bag full of money ready to shove people out of the way with buy all kinds of treats for the local church holiday party for area foster children.

There were many, many problems was only one problem: We were late. The doors to my favorite discount junk store were opened at 6am and I feared we were missing the best bargains.

I flung the door open after waiting for Myren, my Scroogey unreliable wonderful chauffeur shopperto open it to no avail because he was too busy drinking his coffee and looking for the keys because he was too old not used to getting up this early. I wasn’t used to getting up this early either. But I solved that problem by not going to bed at all.

That’s right—I’d been up all night on the super-caffeinated high of triple extra-shot dark French roast espresso with double sugar. I kept busy making my list and checking it twice, three, four, five times, crossing things out and adding them and scribbling something totally unreadable until I had no idea what was on it.

Now I was ready to crash the store and wing it.

Myren finally found the keys and got the car started and I shouted, “On Dasher!”

He didn’t respond by stomping on the gas and screeching the tires as I had imagined. Instead he glanced at me in the rear view mirror with a look that said something unpleasant I figured meant his coffee hadn’t kicked in yet. Maybe he forgot to put the shot of whiskey espresso in it.

I’d like to say Myren made up for his slow start with a quick tire-screeching stop, but my newly acquired whiplash prevents me.

And what to my wondering eyes did appear, but a big glass door with no line of shoppers blocking my entry. So I dashed inside and hoped felt confident that Myren was right behind me. His mission was to lift and haul the massive loads of crazy stuff beautiful thoughtful gifts that I purchased.

Seriously, I was in the zone. I didn’t even notice all the other shoppers around me as I giftszeroed in on my prey the most wonderful bargains. I shopped and shopped and filled carriage after carriage feeling more and more like Santa in my frenzy to find every possible gift a child of any shape and size might even dream of in their wildest imagination. At the end of my exhausting marathon of mad shopping, with my big bag of cash lightened to the point of emptiness, I barely made it back to the car where Myren helped dragged me inside an I collapsed across the seat, catching my breath and wiping my brow.

I don’t know if it was the post-caffeine frenzy crash or the satisfaction of a shopping spree well done or the fact that I plugged my ears to tune out Myren’s lecture on over-spending and materialism, but I lapsed into a deep, much-needed sleep.

I suppose it could have been because I hadn’t slept the night before.

Whatever it was, however it happened, later that night I found myself in bed and happy with the post-successful-bargain-shopping-spree high, doubly pleased because I’ d competed with the Black Friday crowd and won. It didn’t get any better than that.

christmas-tree-and-lights-beautiful-idea-of-christmas-tree-christmas-gifts-and-decorated-rome-on-christmasAt least not until witnessing the delight in all the kids eyes when they saw the mountain of gifts under the local church tree and they opened their presents. And then the extra light in their eyes when they realized someone was generous and giving and cared about them as Myren Santa said his “Ho, ho, ho Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night.”

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Posted in Stephanie's Posts | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Happy Thanksgiving, Y’all!

Thanksgiving is a favorite day of the year for me, because it’s a day of thanks and for counting blessings. No matter how many hard times we may go through, and most of us do, there are reasons for being thankful. They may be small, they may be huge, but if we look close enough they’re there. I’m most thankful for family, friends and health.

So Monday, I rushed out the door to pick up a few items I needed for Thanksgiving dishes. I’d waited for Walgreens to call with a filled prescription and, since they hadn’t called by two in the afternoon, time was slipping by. Publix is just above Walgreens and I needed an item only they stocked. I’d hoped to kill two birds with one stone. That didn’t happen.

Anyway, I headed to Publix. On the way to an empty parking space, I’d noticed a truck with a bed loaded with hay parked three spaces above me. I jumped out of the car, locked, the door and took off. About halfway in the back of said truck, I caught a movement. The driver evidently hadn’t checked behind him. What is that mirror for, in your truck and on the doors? I picked up my walk to a run, then jumped out of the way. The truck missed me by maybe a whisper. I gotta tell you, the incident gave me quite a start. Lying on the road or in the hospital, flashed before my eyes. So, yes. I have much to be thankful for. I’m grateful the truck missed me…Or I missed it.

After I left Publix, I headed to Walmart. I think half the county was shopping that day. Finally I checked out with my meager items and headed home. About a block from home, my phone rang. Yep it was Walgreens. My prescription was ready. Drive through pick-up is wonderful!

Now it was around four, and by that time, since I’d forgotten to have lunch and being diabetic, I was getting quite shaky. Wendy’s is behind Walgreens, and easy enough to grab a quick sandwich. I ordered the junior hamburger, since I didn’t want to completely ruin dinner.

The voice from the speaker asks, “Will that be all?”

“Yes,” I say, because I still had part of a warm diet coke and was five minutes from home.

“We have free drinks for seniors today, would you like one?”

Warm coke isn’t tasty, so I say, “Sure, thanks.” I pull up, pay and drive to the next window. The young man hands me a bag with the burger, then the coke. I always check to make sure it’s sugar-free, so I asked.

“Yes, ma’am,” he says. “Oh and I put your drink in the wrong cup, but that’s okay,” he said with a huge grin.

I stared at the humongous drink, thanked him and drove away. There was enough coke in that cup to last all night! When I got home, I opened the bag and found a loaded regular sized hamburger, not the junior I’d ordered. Surprise! I sure hope those kids hadn’t been filling orders wrong all day. Is it any wonder businesses are losing money? A little mistake, if ongoing, can add up!

Yes, I was thankful for the larger burger and coke that would last all night. Ha!

It’s the little things that matter.

I know most people serve turkey at Thanksgiving, but if you’re having a roast chicken, here’s a side dish that will go well with your other dishes. Of course this dish is good any time of the year.

Chicken, Rice, Broccoli, Cheese Casserole

Yield: 10 servings – Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray or butter the dish.

Ingredients:

Nonstick cooking spray or butter for the baking dish

4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 stalks celery cut into thirds

1 large yellow or white onion, quartered

4 large carrots, peeled and cut into thirds

2 large bay leaves

1 medium head broccoli, cut into small florets

2 cups cooked white or brown rice

One 10-ounce can condensed cream of chicken soup

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 ½ tablespoon lemon juice

10 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated (about 2 1/2 cups) (Or cheese of your choice)

1 roll Ritz Crackers, crushed

1 stick butter, melted

If you prefer, use 1 ½ cups Panko bread crumbs instead of Ritz Crackers and omit ½ the butter

Directions:

In a large pot, cover 4 large chicken breasts with water, add 1 tbsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1 quartered large yellow or white onion, 4 stalks celery, cut in thirds, 4 large cut-up carrots, and 2 large bay leaves. Bring to a boil, cover and turn down to a simmer for 30-45minutes or until tender. Drain chicken, discard water and vegetables. Let cool. Shred. Refrigerate if not using right away.

While chicken is cooking, cook enough white or brown rice to make 2 cups of cooked rice.

Cut broccoli into florets, discard remainder. Drop into generously salted boiling water and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and place on paper towels, gently pat dry to remove excess water.

Mix 1-10 oz can cream of chicken soup with 1 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 ½ tbsp fresh lemon juice and 2/3 bag of cheese. Gently fold chicken with soup mix.

Crush 1 roll of Ritz crackers, melt butter and mix well with crackers.

Layering ingredients:

Spread 2 cups cooked rice on bottom of buttered, or sprayed, 9X13X2 baking dish.

Layer drained broccoli over rice.

Spread chicken and soup mix over broccoli.

Sprinkle remaining cheese over chicken.

Spread crushed and buttered crackers over cheese.

Bake at 350 for 40 to 45 minutes or until bubbly and crackers are browned and crunchy.

Let stand for 5 minutes and serve. Enjoy!

My mom made the best fudge in the world. The following recipe is a cake icing that has the flavor and texture of old-fashioned fudge.

Fudge Icing

1 cup white sugar

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ cup milk (Fat free or Whole)

¼ cup butter

1 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients, slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove pan from heat. Cool 1 minute. Beat with an electric mixer or by hand for 3 minutes or until cooled and mixture begins to thicken to spreading consistency. (I beat this by hand so it won’t harden too quickly.)

Use either a chocolate or yellow cake, your preference. Make sure your cake is cooled before making icing because it will set like a soft fudge. Cook icing, then spread icing over cake.

Note:  If you really love fudge icing, double the recipe. Before cooking icing and after cake cools, use a toothpick to punch holes in the top of the cake. Cook icing and after icing cools for one minute, beat icing halfway, then spread some over cake before icing sets completely, then spread so the icing can work down through the cake. Working quickly, continue to beat icing until it begins to thicken, (probably another minute or so) spread remaining icing over cake. Enjoy!

My book in our newest “Christmas at the Inn on Main Street” boxed set is “Christmas at the Granger Inn.” I have never written anything with a ghost, but one of the other authors mentioned she has a ghost in her story. So, intrigued that I was, and after a lot of thought and a lot of what if’s,” my ghost emerged. Writing this story has been so much fun!

christmas-at-the-granger-inn-small-2

All the authors have new books in the boxed set. You can find the book offering at Amazon. http://amzn.to/2f5eyd9 Grab a copy and settle in for some heartwarming Christmas stories.

To keep in touch with what we’re up to, go to the right top of this page, and sign up for our newsletter. We appreciate each one of our readers and love sharing our stories with you

Please check out these links to my books, available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kobo, Apple and Smashwords. http://caroldevaney.weebly.com/my-books.html

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I wish you love, butterflies and music.

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It’s Here!

Christmas at the Inn on Main Street, a collection of five all-new holiday romances from our Main Street authors, is now available at Amazon!

boxed-set-v3bk

My contribution is Christmas at the Roses. This story takes place at the Roses Inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, where Abby and Jason met and fell in love in my popular novella Wine & Roses.Chistmas Inn.indd

All Ellie wants for Christmas is to avoid it altogether. Reeling from her broken romance with Spencer, she plans to spend the holidays at the historic Roses Inn writing her novel. Spencer has a plan of his own—to rekindle both her love for him and her fondness for the holidays. To win back her stubborn heart, he might just need a little help from the inn’s resident ghost.

Pick up Christmas at the Inn on Main Street for only 99 cents at Amazon.

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Want to List Your Free or Nearly Free Book in the December Authors of Main Street Promotion?

Writer friends, want to cross promote your book with the Authors of Main Street? We have more than four thousand followers, but collectively our newsletter reach extends to the tens of thousands.(If not hundreds–I’d have to check, but I have a large list and I know many of my fellow Main Street friends do, as well.)

Here’s how to play:

Make sure your book is either free or .99 cents.

Send me, Kristy, the link to the book at authorsofmainstreetpromotions@gmail.com and I’ll add it to our newsletter. (This is also where you can ask any questions.)

Let your newsletter followers know there is a Main Street Sale.

Give the promotion a shout out on all your social media platforms.

Download all of the free books in the promotion.

Purchase at least three of the .99 cent books either for yourself or for friends (great gifts!)

Sorry, no erotica. (If you don’t think your book is right for Main Street, it’s probably not.)

 

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How Coffea Romantica, saved the Romance Writing World

coffee-beans-0-1920x434It is a little known, yet highly cited fact, that coffee makes Romance writers more beautiful. No one likes to say this truism out loud—mainly because the demand for coffee beans worldwide would skyrocket. One would think the resulting escalation in price would be the predominant rationale for keeping this effect of coffee secret. This is not the case. As everyone knows, romance writers do not fear economic escalation of prices due to their supreme power to stay well ahead of that particular curve. No, it’s not the law of supply and demand that rules the day here, it is the undisputed fact that if all other writers were aware of coffee’s beautific importance, they too would write romance. Such would be the end of the Romance writer’s unique and overwhelming power to seduce, not with a turn of phrase and superior character development, but with the sheer cosmic brilliance of their smile. When this smile is combined with the well noted Romance writer, naughty grin, the effect on others is known in elite circles as the Elizabeth Taylor~George Clooney effect; simply irresistible.lizgeorge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In every renowned interstellar study conducted on, Coffea Romantica, this species of the coffee bean has been proven to enhance Romance writer word count and overall auspiciousness during the month of November. This effect on the average Romance writer brain is evident the other eleven months of the year as well, just in lower percentages of relative word count to coffee intake ratios. This is known in Romance writing circles as the, NaNo Effect.nano_logo-830912ef5e38104709bcc38f44d20a0d

yinyang-coffeeCoffea Romantica, enables Romance writers the unique ability to enter a state of Bliss known as, The Muse Is In and Raring to Write, on a consistent as well as an ‘as needed’ basis. This state of Bliss is what allows Romance writers to consistently produce a premier product that allows readers to escape their concerns and get lost in a story. Other writers work at this tirelessly. For Romance writers, that effect is a product of coffee commingled with our chosen genre—this has led to the widespread, yet erroneous belief that writing Romance is, ‘easy’ as well as, ‘effortless’. There are mornings where drinking the precursor to genius takes a great deal of effort as any Romance writer can attest to.

food-beans-coffee-drinkCoffee helps burn fat, it speeds neuro-activity by the increased firing of neurons, and helps protect the liver (in Romance writing adults). Coffee Romantica contains vitamins B2, B3, B5, B-Witty, nutrients manganese and potassium, as well as that highly sought, muse inducing, Cupid-Dust that does not enhance the work-product of those writing thrillers, horror, literary fiction, or non-fiction. It does not make these writers more beautiful either.

imagesir9uveufAuthor’s Note: Coffee beans were harmed during the making of this Blog. All facts contained in the Blog are supported by well documented empirical evidence and are consequently indisputable; they are also induced by a potent combination of sleep deprivation and caffeine intake at 5a.m.

Happy November, NaNo Warriors and all those Word-Smiths Romantically inclined! May your inner caffeinated Muse help the words flow and the romance come alive on the page. Please share your coffee facts with me. I’d love to add them to my research! coffee-love

 

Leigh.

Posted in Leigh's Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Before Hitting The Publish Button

There’s a ton of last minute craziness that happens in the Indie World of publishing, or well, maybe I should say for those who take the whole concept of indie publishing seriously.

We’ve all had our books professionally edited, but as everyone knows – things can be missed. So we started to read and there were errors. Back up and get them fixed. Then our format person read everything and found more. We get the draft and guess what? Yep, an error! Fix that. Seriously, how was that missed? Then there were a few other things in the format. And right there on the first page it says DRAFT! OOPS!

Yes, we’re down to the wire and there are still things to do. But we promise it will be available in just a few days. We believe in bringing our readers the best possible stories and presenting them as perfectly polished as possible. Why do we do this? Because we take pride in what we write and we love our readers. We want them to keep coming back to read our other books.

The other exciting thing about this boxed set is that Nan O’Berry joined us for this holiday release. Everyone has loved her writing so much that they have asked her to join the Authors of Main Street, and she has! So you’ll be seeing lots more of her.

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Here’s an excerpt from my book in the boxed set.

Chelsea’s Christmas

Keefe Assam’s thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the doorbell. He punched the button on the wall. “Yes.”

“Oh, thank God, it’s you. Let me in.”

“Who is this?”

“Oh, Keefe, it’s Leighayn. Let me in.”

He buzzed her in as his mind did a series of somersaults through their rocky relationship. It ended when he discovered she was seeing another guy. That’s not what he wanted in a partner. He wanted a lifetime commitment. Someone to actually share his life, someone who enjoyed doing what he did. Leighayn was not that person. He realized she was too self-centered.

She knocked on his upper door.

Smile. Be nice. He opened the door. “What brings you here?”

He stared at the child she held on her hip. From her opposite shoulder hung two straps that supported two bulging bags.

“Oh, how could you choose such a horrid place to live? Uh! I’m totally out of breath. All those steps.” She dropped the bags at his feet and he moved them so he could close the door.

“Walking all those steps was bad enough, but this place is like some sterile environment. It’s so typical of you. Neat freak. What’s this crap?” She picked up his prized piece of dichroic glass.

“It’s a Jack Storms sculpture. It’s called Viviolo. Please don’t handle it like that.”

She held it up as though she intended to drop it. “Well, if it’s so precious, you’d better remove it. By the way, this is your son, in case you haven’t figured that out. He was born on December twenty-seventh. He’s yours, look at him. You walked out on me the end of May. Now I have a chance at happiness, and I’m not going to miss it.” She went to the bar that separated the kitchen from the rest of the room and placed the egg-shaped piece of glass there. Then dug through one of the bags. “It’s here someplace. I listed you as the father. Anyway, he’s yours now.” She slipped the child down her side to his feet. “He’ll be two on his birthday. It’s your turn. I already signed the custody papers in front of a notary. So do whatever mumbo-jumbo lawyers do to make everything legal… Happy fatherhood. I’m leaving the country.”

Keefe had to force his mouth closed as his mind tried to process what she was saying. “You are dumping me with a child?”

“I’m not dumping him. He’s your child. Look at him!”

He wanted to say DNA test, but the little boy before him was a carbon copy of photos of Keefe at the same age.

She laughed. “Get over it.” She turned, yanked his apartment door open and walked out. “Potty train him. He’s old enough.”

His heart thumped against his chest and it wasn’t a good feeling. The child began to cry.

Keefe went to his door and called down the steps. “What’s his name?”

“Rage. Rage Assam. It’s in the paperwork.” She held her fingers by her shoulder and wiggled them. “Deal with it.”

 

Posted in E.'s Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Veterans Day

veterans-day

Image courtesy of start08 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia–

Veterans Day is an official United States public holiday, observed annually on November 11, that honors military veterans; that is, persons who served in the United States Armed Forces. It coincides with other holidays, including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I; major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. The United States previously observed Armistice Day. The U.S. holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.

Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day; Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day honors those who died while in military service.[1]


Whether you commemorate Veterans Day, Remembrance Day, or remember Armistice Day–honor the sacrifices of the few for the many.

Posted in Jill's Posts | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments