Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Tiramisù: A Dessert with a #Wicked Past By Joanne Guidoccio #recipe #WickedWednesday


It's always a pleasure to have Joanne guest on Discover... And it's a wickedly yummy spot today.

Several myths and legends surround this delectable dessert that has become a staple in Italian (and many non-Italian) restaurants worldwide.

Here’s my favorite legend…

In the late nineteenth century, the competition among the bordellos in Venice was extremely fierce. Hoping to attract more customers, one bordello offered espresso coffee as a complimentary beverage. Other bordellos followed suit.

As the competition escalated, so did the treats. Savoiardi Cookies (similar to lady fingers) and sweet liqueurs were added as further enticements. An enterprising Madam decided to combine all these ingredients—espresso coffee, savoiardi cookies, sweet liqueurs—with eggs and Mascarpone cheese.

The resulting confection was called Tiramisù (tih-ruh-mee-SOO) which means “Pick Me Up” in Italian. The patrons appreciated this energy booster that fortified them after their sexual encounters.

In one version of this story, the courtesans also treated themselves to Tiramisù between their amorous encounters. Another version suggests that the courtesans were not given this expensive treat.

If you’ve never tasted Tiramisù, imagine a light-mocha-flavored-whipped-cream concoction on lady finger pastries soaked in strong espresso coffee with a tantalizing hint of amaretto liqueur.

Here’s a tried-and-true recipe from my mother’s kitchen:


1 package lady fingers
250 ml Nutriwhip Lite
250 g Kraft Philadelphia cream cheese (*)
2 cups of cold, sweetened espresso coffee
½ cup amaretto liqueur
1 semi-sweet chocolate, grated

1.      Beat cream cheese using the electric mixer.
2.      In a separate bowl, whip the Nutriwhip Lite.
3.      In another bowl, combine the coffee and the amaretto.
4.      Combine cheese and Nutriwhip together.
5.      Cut the lady fingers in half, lengthwise.
6.      Place one layer at the bottom of a 9" x 13" rectangular pan.
7.      Sprinkle enough of the coffee/amaretto mixture to cover the lady fingers.
8.      Spread the cheese/Nutriwhip mixture on the lady fingers.
9.      Continue layering. The top layer must be the cheese mixture.
10.  Cover with grated chocolate.
11.  Refrigerate for 24 hours.

*Feel free to substitute Mascarpone cheese.

You can find Tiramisù and seven other dessert recipes in A Season for Killing Blondes, Book 1 in the Gilda Greco Mystery Series.

Hours before the opening of her career counseling practice, Gilda Greco discovers the dead body of golden girl Carrie Ann Godfrey, neatly arranged in the dumpster outside her office. Gilda’s life and budding career are stalled as Detective Carlo Fantin, her former high school crush, conducts the investigation.

When three more dead blondes turn up all brutally strangled and deposited near Gilda’s favorite haunts, she is pegged as a prime suspect for the murders. Frustrated by Carlo’s chilly detective persona and the mean girl antics of Carrie Ann’s meddling relatives, Gilda decides to launch her own investigation. She discovers a gaggle of suspects, among them a yoga instructor in need of anger management training, a lecherous photographer, and fourteen ex-boyfriends.

As the puzzle pieces fall into place, shocking revelations emerge, forcing Gilda to confront the envy and deceit she has long overlooked.

***On sale for 99 cents – September 13 to September 27***
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A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne Guidoccio writes cozy mysteries, paranormal romances, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Conquering Fear by Caroline Warfield #FearlessFriday #romance


Please welcome Caroline Warfield to Fearless Friday. She's conquering fear today.

Fear is a part of life—there are risks all around us. Courage is feeling fear and getting on with it anyway. That’s a lesson I learned early.

Life is a risk. Getting married is a huge risk. Having children isn’t as much of a risk medically as it was for women a hundred years ago, but it is still a huge risk financially and emotionally. In the professional realm, taking a job is a risk; quitting one is an even bigger one.

I once worked in a public library. Some libraries have happy staffs that function as a family. That one was a dysfunctional mess with a manipulative power-driven director, whose techniques were so subtle they took me two years to fully face and realize. When I did, I quit. I had worked hard to finish my professional masters while raising children. That job was my first professional position. And I quit. It was a risk.

I didn’t throw myself on my sword in the directors’ office the day she kicked the rug out from under
me in a particularly punitive manner. I was tempted, but I didn’t. I found a job first. The one I found quickly was part-time, clerical, and not what I went to school for, but it was close to home. I didn’t have to work two nights a week and every other weekend.

It turned out to be the best career move I ever made. It turned out to be an environment where, if you had a good idea, you could do it. I thought I was hired to write abstracts about technology products for disabled children. In the end I created a searchable database from the ground up, set up a searchable front end, and (this was pre-WWW times) gave it dial access. I learned to manage it remotely from home, and I wrote technical documentation for it. Unfortunately it was a federally funded project and eventually funding was pulled. At that point I had a professional resume that took me many places I couldn’t have imagined in library school. Was the risk worth it? Oh yes.

I’ve realized lately that risk-taking is a factor in every story I write. Sooner or later both hero and heroine have to leap into the unknown and take a chance. My newest release, Christmas Hope is no exception. It takes place during World War I, and duty demands that the hero, a Canadian soldier, lead men into the face of German guns. Loving the heroine, a French widow with a tiny son, terrifies him as well, though he’d never admit it. He can’t protect her in those terrible times, and every time he manages to see her, he isn’t sure he can come back. But she reminds him of life beyond the mire of war and gives him hope.

Award winning author of historical romance often set in the 19th Century, Caroline Warfield reckons she is on at least her third act, happily working in an office surrounded by windows where she lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the world. Christmas Hope is a departure, but as in all her books, she nudges characters to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart, because love is worth the risk.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Tips and Myths #ThursdayThoughts #MythBusters

That's my mom!

My mother had a thing about hair. She had, actually at 88 still has, beautiful hair. But she doesn't want hair anywhere near her kitchen or food. If she finds a hair in her food, she gags. Growing up, we weren't allowed anywhere near the kitchen with a comb or brush. One time, when we were on an airplane, the lady next to her pulled out a hairbrush and took to brushing her long tresses. I thought Mom was going to have the flight attendant throw the lady off the plane. What is the root of my mother's fear of swallowing hair? Have no idea, but I Googled to learn if her fear has merit. I learned than if we ingest too much hair it can lead to a hairball (trichobezoars) forming in our stomach which is not only painful but can have other bad consequences. Hair is made of a protein called keratin which humans can't break down. And even if we don't swallow enough to form a ball, bacteria can catch a ride on a hair and that bacteria could make you sick. Moms know best! 

Do we really see ourselves like others see us? Why not? I don't have the answer. Sorry. Poor self-
Really big hair
image leads to all sorts of problems like anorexia and low-self esteem. I think over inflated image can lead to
narcissism. I know for sure not seeing oneself clearly can lead to future embarrassment. What was I thinking when I was eight months pregnant with bright blue eye shadow and a long red checked dress that looked like an Italian table cloth? Or how about the REALLY big hair and bright red lipstick?

Open the drain after washing dishes and the last of the soap bubbles won't go down? If you run cold water instead of hot, they'll disappear down the drain faster. Yeah, I don't know, but I do it anyway. 

To reduce your allergy attacks, leave your shoes outside the door, wipe off pets before they enter the house, and take a shower to rinse off that pesky pollen before bedtime.

Sugar is linked to heart disease. White carbs (white bread, white rice, and white pasta) are broken down in your body just like sugar. Whole grains are a better choice.

I've suffered from a bad back for three decades. I have two tips for you. For prevention, do squats daily. Be sure you put the weight on your heels and come up fully between each one. I do a routine that includes wide leg squats, one legged squats, reaching forward squats, and narrow stance squats. This routine was my savior when one doctor wanted to do surgery, and I refused. As long as I'm faithful and don't lift heavy stuff, I stay relatively pain free. When I don't follow my own advice and feel the twinge of a backache impending, I take two ibuprofen and three hours later take two acetaminophen. That will usually do the trick, but for bad cases, I repeat again. But see a doctor before you follow my regimen. Could be you have some ailment different than what I have.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Inspiration from a Premonition by Cyndie Zahner #paranormal #premonition


Please welcome Cyndie Zahner to Muse Monday with an inspiration that will give you chills.

Project Dream is fiction but was inspired by real life.

I have had several paranormal experiences throughout my life. For years, I thought I was crazy. Then I had a premonition of 9/11 two months before the Twin Towers fell.

I kept notes about the vision on a work calendar. My notes were vague at best. I didn’t know what building was going to fall. I didn’t know what would cause it to collapse. I wasn’t even sure it was in New York State, let alone New York City.  I only felt like the building existed somewhere in northeastern America by a body of water, maybe a Great Lake. I couldn’t decipher with any accuracy the true capacity of what was about to happen.

For years after, I questioned why I had such a premonition. It hadn’t helped anyone.

Yet, I began thinking. What if it had? What if someone with a keener sixth sense than me—and I know there are many people with psychic abilities—had been able to prevent a death?

Ten-year-old Izzy Jimenez does just that in the opening of Project Dream. The scene is based on another vision I had while saying prayers in a small chapel in my hometown.
Many years ago, a new friend asked if I would like to visit a side chapel of a Catholic church. In Project Dream, that chapel is in San Diego, but in real life, that little sanctuary is in Erie, Pennsylvania.

The chapel struck me as lovely. I knelt beside my friend and immediately began praying. I don’t recall who I prayed for, probably one or all three of my kids. Regardless, there I was—I like to say I was minding my own business praying—when I had this swooshing feeling like an angel came down out of the ceiling. I’ve had these experiences before and often ignored them, blaming everything on my wild imagination. This time, however, the woman, white spirit, ghost, whatever you would like to call her, was relentless. She wouldn’t leave.

She said, quite clearly, “My daughter doesn’t believe in this sort of thing.” She chuckled, told me she wanted her daughter to know she loved her, and just before she left, she opened her arms and showed me roses.

The dream seemed so real that I was quite shook up. When we were leaving, my friend asked what was wrong.

I said, “You are going to think I’m crazy, but I think the mother of one of those women in that chapel appeared to me.”

Of course, she looked at me like I was nuts. But still shook, I described the things I heard the woman express, and my friend became quiet.

“What was the woman’s name?” she asked.

I told her I’d seen lots of spirits but I never seemed to get their names right. They usually only gave me feelings or showed me signs. Then I remembered, and said, “oh wait, the woman’s name might have been Rose.”

My friend was quiet for a long time. I was sure she thought I’d lost my mind. The silence was piercing. Finally, she spoke. “My mother’s name was Rose.”

And from that true-life experience, I conjured up the entire first chapter of Project Dream. 

What happened to the kids in Area-51?

In 2002, the CIA removed teens from detention centers and placed them in a National Security Test Program called Project Dream. Children selected had two characteristics: physical superiority and a sixth sense.
When the awkward, destitute Izzy Jimenez is caught stealing clothes, authorities enroll her for two reasons: Izzy swims like a fish—and she sees angels.
Terrified and alone for the first time in her life, Izzy finds herself in a military school set deep in the belly of a desolate Nevada desert within Area 51. There, she attends classes and learns to perfect her clairvoyance, hoping authorities will allow her to go home. But when she and other students master remote viewing and produce results that stun White House officials, additional children are recruited, and Izzy’s hope of going home dwindles.
Not until the beautiful and popular Rachel Callahan arrives and befriends Izzy does her life become bearable.
Project Dream is a coming-of-age story of teenagers thrown into the most unusual circumstances. Each struggle to survive their time in the desert with the goal of getting out and going home, but—
Can any of them really go home?  

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CJ Zahner writes fictional thriller novels. Two of her books, Dream Wide Awake and Project Dream, include paranormal elements inspired by her real-life premonitions.

In 2001, two months before the Twin Towers fell, Zahner began having vague weekly visions of first, approaching a city from a plane’s view and, second, being inside a collapsing building. The visions continued until the September 11th fatal disaster. Throughout her life, Zahner had other premonitions, but not until this premonition did she consider her visions had merit.

Although her 9/11 premonition was indistinct and helped no one, it did inspire her to ask: could someone with a sixth sense develop the ability to prophesize future events and protect people? With that, her Dream Series was born. Now she uses past real-life premonitions she’s experienced as the basis for scenes in her novels. 

When the woman neared, Izzy turned. “Hello.”
“Hello.” The woman nodded and walked by.
Izzy closed her eyes and scratched her forehead. If only she had been born with a flowing tongue like Belo said of Enrique.
“Ma’am.” She couldn’t open her eyes when she heard the lady turn. “Did your mother die?”
Oh, that sounded horrible. Why had she asked such a thing? She wasn’t even sure the white spirit was her mother.
“Of lung cancer?” Izzy opened her eyes. “She smoked, right?”
The lady stared but didn’t say a word.
“She says you shouldn’t go to New York City.”
The lady’s face wrinkled. “What?” She sounded cross.
“I’m sorry. It’s—well.” Izzy scratched her nose. She might be breaking into hives. “I saw this lady by you and she kept slashing the letters NYC like you shouldn’t go there and she wouldn’t stop, so I thought I better tell you. She kept doing it over and over and, well, I know she doesn’t want you to go to New York City.”
The woman took a step toward Izzy. The wrinkles melted from her face. “I do have a trip scheduled to New York. Next week. For a conference.”
Goosebumps crawled over Izzy’s skin. Whenever people, real human beings, confirmed what the white people told her, chills spread through her.
The lady stood still, waiting for Izzy to say more.
Izzy scratched and the lady stared.
“What was her name?”
“My mother. What was my mother’s name?”
The woman appeared hopeful. She held her breath, waiting. But Izzy didn’t know the woman’s name. She had difficulty hearing the white people. Usually, they simply gave signs.
Yes, signs.
“Oh.” Izzy held a finger up. She remembered the sign. “Rose? Is your mother’s name Rose?”
The chapel door opened behind Izzy, and she heard her mother’s voice. “Izzy, what are you doing?”
“Nothing, Mama.” Izzy sidled down the hall toward her mother.
“I hope she wasn’t bothering you.”
The woman said nothing. She stared at the two of them, a perplexed expression tainting her face. After a time, she left the building without saying more.
“Izzy,” Mama barked. “What were you talking to that woman about?”
“I only said hello to her, Mama.”
Her mother gazed at her skeptically. “Remember what Belo said. Don’t talk to anyone.”
“I didn’t, Mama. I promise.”
“Go collect your things. Your brother called. It’s time to pick him up.”
Izzy hurried back into the chapel and grabbed her coat, missal, and satchel. She smiled and waved goodbye to Jean as she exited.
Eight days later, the World Trade Centers collapsed. Izzy prayed the woman from the chapel had not been inside. She watched for her in church on Sunday and at the chapel during the week when she and Mama went to pray for the people who had died, but Izzy didn’t see the woman.
Three weeks after September 11th, Izzy and her mother visited the chapel on a Sunday evening once again. The lady was sitting in the pew next to the woman named Jean. When Izzy walked in, she heard the lady say, “That’s her. That’s the girl.”
“That’s Isabelle Jimenez,” Jean said.
The woman stood and rushed toward Izzy. Jean followed.
“Mrs. Jimenez?” The lady glanced at Izzy’s mother.
“Mrs. Jimenez, your daughter saved my life.”
Izzy’s mother made her spend the next two Saturday afternoons praying in church. But it was too late. Saving that woman’s life would prove Belo right.
They would come for her.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

In the Book, In the Voice…Inspiration #audio #romance

The first step in taking a book from print to audio is finding the right voice. When I decided to take Sleeping with the Lights On to the next level—audio—I had to listen to auditions for a prospective narrator.

These are the main characters I had to keep in mind when listening to auditions:

Sandra Holiday transplanted to Minneapolis, Minnesota. She’s originally from Phoenix, Arizona and lived a few years in Las Vegas. She’s a fifty-year-old southwest lady with sass. She approaches her life with a good balance of humor. Can you hear her voice? I certainly could.

Sandra’s ex-husband, Carson Holiday, hails from Texas and although he’s lived many years in Las Vegas, he still has a bit of twang. And he’s a sexy, country singer. Can you hear his voice? I knew what he should sound like.

Wesley is Sandra’s current guy. He’s rich, quirky, and speaks with a fast, clipped voice pattern.

Could I find anyone who could give these characters life?

Lily Dubuque to the rescue. When I heard Lily’s audition, I knew I’d found the narrator that could pull off three very different personalities. If you’re an audio connoisseur, you’re going to be pleased with this listen. And if you're new to audio, you’re going to be equally entertained.

Right now, I have FREE review codes for Audible for a free audio book in exchange for a review. Let me know if you need UK or US. This is a very entertaining listen, so give me a shout for a free code. Leave a comment or email me at

Listen to a sample here, and then hit me up for a code! If you missed the 'here', then go to:

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

When a #Villain isn't a Villain by Dee S. Knight #WickedWednesday


Please welcome Dee back to Discover... Can you answer her question: When is a villain not really a villain?

When it’s someone who actually loves you but doesn’t show it. For example—and maybe you can relate—I had a girlfriend growing up who was almost totally ignored in favor of her brother. I’ll call her Sally Jean. Where the sun rose and set on Sally Jean’s brother, who was younger by three years and a real dork to our minds, their dad treated Sally Jean like she was post sunset. The dark hours between twilight and dawn. Hours you can ignore because you’re zoning out in front of the TV or sound asleep in bed. Get my drift?

Her brother, who I’ll call Billy Joe, wasn’t anything to write home about, but he carried the family name. He was the “and Son” on the sign above the door of their company office. They didn’t own a company or have an office, but in her dad’s heart there was a door and such a sign. Billy Joe was just a normal kid. He didn’t do anything special to capture their dad’s love and attention. He didn’t try to disparage Sally Jean, but she felt disparaged anyway.

Was her father wicked in the traditional sense of the word? No. If you’d asked him, he would have did question that he loved her, and that made him a greater villain than Simon Legree. At least we can hiss and boo at Legree. We know he’s the bad guy. But Sally Jean couldn’t hate her dad. Sadly, he died never knowing why he and Sally Jean weren’t close as adults.
said of course he loved his daughter. He would have been angry that anyone could question that. But over the years, Sally Jean

I drew on my friend and her relationship with her father for characters in my soon to be released book One Woman Only. It’s Book 2 in the Good Man series. In the book, Kelly Shepherd’s father has given everything to her brother Robbie. They do have a company, and Robbie has always been the golden child who was trained to take over. Suddenly, Robbie has run off to “find himself,” and their father expects Kelly to take over the reins. There’s a big surprise in that proposition, and Kelly needs her friend (and lover) Jonah Goodman’s help. One Woman Only will be out around October 1. Meanwhile, meet the first Goodman triplet, Daniel, in Only a Good Man Will Do.

Only a Good Man Will Do

Daniel Goodman is a man on a mission. He aims to become headmaster of Westover Academy. For that he needs a particular, special woman to help him set high standards. Into his cut and dried life of moral and upright behavior, comes Eve Star, formerly one of Europe's foremost exotic dancers. Her life is anything but cut and dried, black and white. Daniel is drawn to her like a kid to chocolate. Nothing good can come of this attraction. Or can it? He is after all, a good man.

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Friday, August 30, 2019

Fearless Women: Grandmother and Granddaughter by Sally Brandle #fearlessfriday


I have a special place in my heart for grandmothers, maybe because I am one. Please welcome my guest, Sally Brandle, who has that same special spot in her heart.

I imitated the grandmother I never met.

My Irish grandmother, Margaret (Maggie) Mary Gallagher, boarded a steamer for New York in 1902 at the age of nineteen. Seventy-six years later, at twenty-one, I moved from rural Michigan to Seattle. Both of us followed brothers to a new life—a fact I realized upon writing this post. Maggie bid goodbye to her Irish sister and parents in Newcastle. I hesitated to vacate Saginaw, knowing my newly divorced mom-my best friend-would reside alone in our empty childhood home. Mom devoted her life to her family and insisted I pursue my dreams. The saving grace was my other brother who visited Mom daily.

And so, I drove 2,200 miles in my yellow Firebird Formula, towing a turquoise utility trailer. An observer may have concluded the circus was coming to town. At times I hovered on a high wire. My Seattle brother encouraged me and remains a part of my life.

My grandmother
Sadly, Maggie’s brother died in a tragic accident a few months after her arrival in her new country. Maggie dealt with a time period of disdain for the Irish, being a pretty single woman in a huge city, and employment as a domestic servant for the wealthy Gould family. I’d recently graduated from college and acclimation to a bigger city and an unexpected teaching job challenged me. I wish I could’ve spoken to her about shared feelings of insecurity, missing friends and family, and her sense of self. She died during the Great Depression, leaving behind a small metal trunk filled with postcards and a diary of her life in 1907. A photo shows we share a love of riding horseback. Piecing together the snippets of her life into a story will be my tribute to an adventurous woman.

The first three heroines in my Emma Springs series leave Seattle for a new life in a picturesque Montana town. Deep down, do I long for the simplicity of my childhood in scenic Michigan? Hmmm. The book I’m editing now features a thirty-nine-year-old heroine with twin sons in their first year of college. I understand her bittersweet emotion each time
Me on Lance
she ends a phone conversation with them after she’s moved to a job she wasn’t trained for in an unwelcome environment. Her hunky, annoyed employer thought he’d hired a man as his welder. I trained for teaching second and third grade special education and ended up in a high school behavior disorders classroom. At the beginning of the year, a few of my students were my age.

Strong women survive and trust their instincts. That’s what I’ve learned to do over the years, and I hope my books encourage others to do the same. The opening book in the series features a woman who is in the right place at the right time. You’ll understand if you dive into The Hitman’s Mistake.

Happy trails,

Haynet (horse enthusiast) Review: