Posted by: reneewildes1 | December 4, 2013

Review: Isca

Isca
Isca by Ceri Bladen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is NOT a historical romance. This is a historical fiction with romantic elements, so don’t go in with preconceived expectations. The author isn’t a formal historian, but like me an author who loves history & historical research – and it shows. The world-building and cultural references are solid and stellar. The characters were multi-dimensional and their interactions were lively and true. Whenever you have a diverse tapestry, and characters from two sides of a conflict – Romans and Britons – there’s lots of potential for headbutting and misunderstandings and tunnel vision. And it holds true here. Briton heroine and Roman hero, in post-Boudica Britain. The locals have no love for the occupation, and the Romans are far from their own homes and families. Nice to see both sides of that coin fleshed out – had sympathy for both parties.

That being said, I had some issues with parts of this book. I wasn’t sure of the heroine’s age. Sometimes she was babysitting her younger siblings, which indicated she was younger, since that was a task for older children, not a woman. Then she was off with the warriors and falling in love, which led me to believe she was grown – but then why was she stuck babysitting? The dating in the book’s opening and closing chapters conflicted – I couldn’t follow the timeline or keep track of her aging progression. There was a single scene with a mysterious villain that came late and seemed totally out of left field, since it was never fully developed. And the book could have used a good editor. There are grammar and punctuation issues, and some POV slips that could have been addressed prior to publication for a cleaner product.

Overall, I enjoyed the story. I love the time period and Celtic culture, and this book had vivid setting and characters. It’s nice to see an writer put her heart and soul into a project, and am curious the check out other works by this author.

View all my reviews

Posted by: reneewildes1 | October 28, 2013

RELEASE DAY For Marek’s New World!

Now available from Tirgearr, Smashwords & Amazon!

Have day off of work and am busy doing promo for the birth of my newest printed baby. This is a paranormal romance, first in a soon-to-be trilogy. A werewolf tale w/an environmental theme, just in time for Halloween/Samhain. (Which also happens to be my 16th wedding anniversary…) Check out the following links:

http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Wildes_Renee/mareks-new-world.htm

http://heartoffiction.blogspot.com/2013/10/renee-wildes-mareks-new-world.html

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ReneeWildes

http://www.amazon.com/Mareks-New-World-Renee-Wildes-ebook/dp/B00G8LZRBC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1382977114&sr=8-1&keywords=marek%27s+new+world

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18721462-marek-s-new-world

EXCERPT:

Wrongness. The fine hairs prickled the back of Cheyenne Rafferty’s neck as she crouched beside the ice-laced pond and filled the small glass vial with water. Surveying the too-still northwest Montana forest, she sniffed the air, catching the normal scents of a Cabinet Mountains springtime—spicy Ponderosa pines, new quaking aspen leaves, and the mineral tang of mud-tinged snow. She strained to listen.

Silence. Dead silence. No animals, no birds. Weird for early afternoon, even in mid-April. She wanted to melt down into true-self and let Sister take over. The white wolf’s senses were more acute, but she needed to finish collecting water samples and report to her U.S. Forestry Service superiors. Hard to do either with four paws and a growl.

Frowning, Cheyenne pulled her handheld radio from her belt. “Eagle to Nest.”

“What’s up, Chey?” her cousin Sarah asked.

“You got anything from USGS on recent seismic readings?”

“Are you serious? Here? There’s no alert for Kootenai. Why?”

Cheyenne closed her eyes and reached for the inner stillness where soul touched earth. Wrongness. A single ripple on the water’s mirror surface. “Too quiet. Sister’s twitchy.”

“I’ll double-check.” Silence on the line, then “Crap! Hang on, Chey. We’ve got tremors coming.”

The earth shivered; a sigh building to a low groan. With a mighty heave, the ground arched like the back of a newly-saddled mustang and then dropped. Cheyenne lost her balance and tumbled to the ground. The pond crested into a single giant wave that crashed over her. Boulders cartwheeled down the mountainside toward her truck.

With the speed of thought Sister emerged. The nimbleness and claws of the white wolf gave her better purchase on the shifting ground than her human self. As she danced amidst the rocks, Cheyenne’s thoughts buried beneath Sister’s instinct to stay up and keep moving. One rock with sharp quartz edges glanced off her flank. Sister yelped and ducked out of the way. It seemed an eternity but was over within moments.

Sister shook herself free of the debris. Now that it was safer, Sister retreated. Muscles stretched; joints popped as bones lengthened. Skin burst through split fur. There was a moment of pain, of dizziness and disorientation as Cheyenne straightened upright and rose in her wet filthy uniform. She grimaced as cold, clammy material clung to her skin.

This will teach me to leave my coat in the truck. If only she could shift into clean, dry clothes but that wasn’t how it worked. What you left was what you re-entered. A little extra fur made back into clothing. Minus badge and holster belt, radio and cell phone.

Why I haul the phone around in an area with no reception bars… Her older brother Brady would freak when he couldn’t get a hold of her. He’d raised her singlehandedly after their parents died and still took his guardianship seriously, long after she’d reached the age of consent.

“Chey? Chey? You there? You okay?” Sarah sounded breathless—and frantic. “Answer me, dammit.”

Cheyenne wrung out her dripping ponytail and tossed the scraggly ash blonde rope of hair back over her left shoulder. Her sturdy hiking boots squelched in the mud as she picked up her squawking radio. “Tell Brady I’m fine. You?”

“We’re okay, still here. Lights are gone; no phones. Kane broke out a flashlight to check the records vault down in the basement.”

“What’s the scoop?” Cheyenne struggled to buckle her belt one-handed.

“Four-pointer, but localized.” Sarah paused. “I think it just brushed Troy but didn’t make it as far as Libby; Evan’s checking with both towns, but that’ll take time. Phone and power lines are down. We’ve got broken windows, a crack in the north wall and also—yep, right down the middle of the parking lot. So much for the resurfacing. Crap—your mom’s ivy took a header off your desk…hang on…there. It’s a bit squashed. Sorry. What’s the damage out there?”

Cheyenne looked around. Rocks had carved jagged paths through the dripping underbrush. Evergreen trees lay toppled in every direction, the pond now a shallow, steaming mud puddle. Dead fish lay scattered across the bubbling surface of a newly-emerged hot spring. “Looks like an amateur logging event. The pond’s now hot. Total kill. I need to check my truck.” She returned the radio to her belt, snapped some photos—at least the phone was now good for something—and took another water/mud sample. Then she half-staggered, half-slid down the trail to the gravel road where she’d parked.

A moan sounded from nowhere, from everywhere, like a dying moose magnified a hundredfold building to a roar. A sense of glee, of malice and rage, hammered into her. Cheyenne drew her Smith & Wesson service revolver and looked around for the source of the eerie sound. Sister cowered deep within her. Cheyenne frowned. Sister didn’t cower from anything, not even a mama grizz with new cubs. Whatever that noise was, her inner wolf wanted no part of it.

She quickened her pace. Her hunting rifle was in the truck. This early in the season bears weren’t out unless they’d run short on body fat. For taking soil samples and measuring water depths she didn’t usually need weapons, just a pen, notepad, and test tubes—along with the occasional canoe.

Apparently this wasn’t the usual day.

Image

Posted by: reneewildes1 | October 15, 2013

COVER REVEAL FOR MAREK’S NEW WORLD

Marek's New World by Renee Wildes - 500Paranormal Romance coming from Tirgearr Publishing on 10/28/13.

 

Set in Kootenai National Forest. Heroine Cheyenne Rafferty is a white wolf shifter who works for the U.S. Forestry Service. When her truck is destroyed by an unusual earthquake, she doesn’t think her day can get any worse. Until she runs afoul of a demon from the ancient past – and the compelling warrior who followed it forward in time.
Hero Marek awakens 2000 years in the future, to a world all but incomprehensible. Sent to teach modern warriors to combat the Reynak, he now finds the demon the only thing familiar. His people and their epic struggle have been lost to the passage of time. The only one willing to help him is a daughter of the earth, a beautiful shifter woman with the heart of a wolf.
This isn’t your standard werewolf tale. The first of a planned trilogy, it has a strong environmental theme and features werewolves, time-traveling Native American warriors, demons and a resurrected ancient goddess.
Posted by: reneewildes1 | September 24, 2013

Review: The Dysfunctional Test

The Dysfunctional Test
The Dysfunctional Test by Kelly Moran
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are very few books to register on my epic “Rob Roy” cry scale – the blotchy-faced-glad-the-kids-aren’t-here-to-be-humiliated bawl fest. I bought this book because of the cute cover and intriguing blurb – she begs an old friend for a pity date to attend her sister’s wedding. I thought it would be a fun, funny read on my day off. Don’t get me wrong – it is. The niece’s mispronunciations are cosmic, and the extended family is beyond strange, of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” proportions.

But it’s so much more than that.

I read this book in one sitting. Burnt the coffee. Never saw the mailman deliver even though the dog usually announces. Never heard the dog – and she’s a Chow who sounds like a T-Rex-sized rage-monster when the mailman shows up. Because I got lost in this book. Completely.

Camryn and Troy are believably REAL. They’re real people with personal issues people can relate to and identify with. Scars and fears and insecurities. Everything starts out with the “One Big Lie” to fake it and fool the family. Only pretend becomes terrifyingly real, and to see two wounded souls open up and LIVE again – because of the other person – was humbling and moving. I laughed and cried(and really hated Grandma a time or two) and was pissed at the perfect ending because it was OVER and the next page was BLANK! I will probably reread this book again a few hundred times – if only to hear Emily butcher the word “popcorn.”

This book is a gem. PLEASE go get your own copy – you’ll own a true treasure!

View all my reviews

Posted by: reneewildes1 | August 5, 2013

Review: Serafina and the Silent Vampire

Serafina and the Silent Vampire
Serafina and the Silent Vampire by Marie Treanor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love paranormal romance, the idea of a psychic who doesn’t believe in vampires or the paranormal, and a real vampire hunter pretending to be a vampire hunter, sounded like a fun sort of lark. It took me a while to get into, I got confused at the beginning with who was who and who was doing what, and my American brain struggled a bit with some of the dialogue phrasology, but I am glad I stuck with it because the story took off and rocked.

These vampires are very unique, and their plan for world domination was one I can honestly say I’ve never seen before. I like how there were good and bad vampires, just like there are good and bad people, and the hero and heroine were both sympathetic and likeable. Their chemistry was hot and believable, and they worked well together. A great cast of secondary characters, all with their own voices, rounded out the book nicely.

I would recommend this author to my friends, and look forward to getting more of Marie Treanor’s books in the future.

View all my reviews

Posted by: reneewildes1 | April 23, 2013

Seafood Chowder

This is another recipe from my Maine relatives. My daughter Tami loves chowder, and this is yummy on a cold day—drives our cat nuts, though! If anyone knows how to keep a cat off the counter, please message. me from the “Contact Me” page of http://www.reneewildes.net because after 10 years of Chandra counter-jumping and trying to stick her paws in the cream, I give up!

Ingredients:

1-1/2 lb. haddock (or cod) fillets

1 lb. scallops

2 cans crabmeat

2 cans minced clams

2 cans shrimp

2 qt. milk

1/2 lb. butter

Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Do not throw the cooking water away—reat it like “fish stock” for flavor!

In large kettle, cook fish in salted boiling water until it’s white through & flakes easily with fork. Remove fish, flake with fork & remove bones. Lower heat & simmer scallops in the fish water to cook, about 5 minutes or until done. Cut scallops in bite-sized pieces. Return scallop pieces & flaked fish to the cooking water. Add crabmeat, clams & shrimp—eat long enough to blend, stirring constantly. Add salt & pepper to taste. Add milk & butter until heated through and butter melts. Do not boil. Serve hot, topped with oyster crackers.

And check out this other FAB recipe from my friend:

Selena Robins –
http://selenarobinsmusings.com/2013/04/23/canada-vs-usa-cornbread-throwdown/

Posted by: reneewildes1 | April 16, 2013

HOT COCOA MIX

IN HONOR OF THE NEVERENDING MIDWEST WINTER…

 

Kids love this stuff—and it’s easy for everyone to just help themselves whenever the mood strikes. Whenever the kids bring a friend over to our house, it’s a good after-school treat. I like the spiced version myself. For a non-kids step-up, you can doctor with a shot of Baileys or Kahlua, too! (Great for bribing Santa, if it so happens you’ve been extra naughty this year…) This makes a big batch! (But it goes faster than you’d believe…)
Ingredients:
1 2 lb. can cocoa mix
1 8-qt. size powdered milk
1 8-oz, jar powdered cream
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
Directions:
Mix together thoroughly in large pail –a flour sifter can help blend. Keep in sealed, airtight container. To make, fill cup or mug ½ full of mix, add boiling water & stir well. Top with marshmallows.

To make SPICED HOT CHOCOLATE, sprinkle powdered cinnamon or nutmeg or a bit of ground cloves atop mix just before adding water.

And check out these other recipes from my writer friends:

Selena Robins – http://selenarobinsmusings.com/2013/04/16/chocolate-mayonnaise-cake/
Nancy Lauzon – http://nancylauzon.com/2013/04/16/tasty-tuesday-macaroni-and-cheese/

 

Posted by: reneewildes1 | April 14, 2013

Review: Catch Me in Castile

Catch Me in Castile
Catch Me in Castile by Kimberley Troutte
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sometimes getting away from it all can be murder…

Erin Carter just wanted to get away from her nightmare of a life. After a personal crisis at work costs her a promotion, all she wants to do is lick her wounds and reexamine her life. A friend invites her to a picturesque refuge in Spain, which proves to be anything but a safe haven. Her best friend is hiding something, a beautiful-but-tragic 15th-century ghost won’t leave her alone, and her budding romance with a handsome surgeon – with secrets of his own – makes her wonder if she’s bitten off more than she can chew…

This is a darkdarkDARK psychological thriller with twists and turns to keep you reading. It’s not a comfortable read, but makes you wonder and shiver to the end. You can’t assume anything with this book – and the ending was a surprise I didn’t see coming. Not my usual fare, but I really enjoyed it. I really was cheering for Erin’s HEA. I highly recommend this book – but read it with a light on!

View all my reviews

Posted by: reneewildes1 | April 9, 2013

Chicken/Spinach Casserole with Wild Rice & Mushrooms

This is a “dress up” kind of casserole that will hold its own at Sunday dinner—with the in-laws. I can’t complain, though—my in-laws ROCK. You can see a picture of the WHOLE Mickelson clan on my personal Facebook page. We did a family portrait on the front porch steps. Someday I want to have a house with a wraparound porch. I HATE being a country gal stuck in the city!
Ingredients:
3 cups diced cooked chicken (or turkey)
1 ½ cups half-and-half
2 ½ cups chicken broth
1 10-oz. pkg. frozen spinach, thawed & drained
1 cup uncooked wild rice
1 cup white rice
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup butter
½ cup flour
½ cup slivered almonds
2 Tbsp. dried parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1 ½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper

 

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. Cook rice according to package directions & combine together. In large skillet, sauté onions & garlic in butter until tender but not browned. Remove from heat & stir in flour. Gradually stir in chicken broth, then add half-and-half. Cook & stir until thickened. Add cooked rice, chicken, spinach, mushrooms, parsley, and salt & pepper. Mix together thoroughly. Place in large, ungreased casserole; sprinkle almonds on top. Bake for approximately 30 minutes.

Check out these other awesome recipes!

NANCY LAUZON http://nancylauzon.com/2013/04/09/tasty-tuesday-sweet-and-sour-meatballs/

MOIRA KEITH http://moirakeith.com/2013/04/09/guinness-milkshake-yes-please/

SELENA ROBINS http://selenarobinsmusings.com/2013/04/09/its-all-about-the-cupcake/

Posted by: reneewildes1 | March 31, 2013

Remembering Grandma Jeanne on Easter Sunday

Nothing like walking past a dozen churches on Easter Sunday to feel one’s lack of formal religion affiliation. Wausau has a LOT of churches on the way to McDonald’s–one across from the courthouse/jail. Seeing all those miserable little girls in their fancy Easter dresses brought it all back home this morning. Grandma’s gone. It’s funny how the weirdest things bring back the memories–like those ridiculous dresses.

See, Gran was a lady as well as a warrior. She had shoes and purses to match every outfit. She wore hats and gloves. And she bought her daughter and granddaughters a full ensemble-in-white for every Easter Sunday. White patent leather shoes. White dresses with lace. White straw hats with flowers. And white gloves. Seriously? How long you think a little kid’s gonna keep white gloves white? Or even ON? My mom told me she got busted as a little girl playing in the coal bin about a half-hour before church! I got mine covered in mud and horse hair, alas. (Yes, we were such girlie girls.) My sister managed to stay clean, but I remember her losing her hat. Knowing WI springs as I do, it probably blew away!

Those little girls looked about as enthused today as I did back then. But it made my think of Gran. She’s been gone more than a month. Seeing her body and receiving a copy of her death certificate didn’t freak me out nearly as much as those stupid Easter dresses. Like I told you, weird. My daughter Tami is such a girlie girl compared to her her tomboy mom–she probably would have LOVED to doll it up for Easter. I can’t wait to see what she picks out for her prom and wedding–I’ve watched enough of “Say Yes to the Dress” that I promised her I would never be one of THOSE moms. And I know whatever she picks out, Gran will be beaming at her from afar saying, “That’s my girl.” Tami wants to be a cop like her grandpa (my dad). Another lady warrior?

 

Posted by: reneewildes1 | February 19, 2013

TASTY TUESDAY – Passion(ate) Fruit Martini

With my new fantasy romance release from Samhain Publishing, GOD OF FYRE MOUNTAIN, being set on a tropical-paradise island (ala ancient Polynesia) it seemed only right to do a tropical fruit kinda drink. I coulda done the more common Mai Tai or Pina Colada, but frankly, passion fruit seemed more “romance-y,” LOL! Originally got this one from Food Network—since I usually gravitate to Cosmos anyway, this one’s right up my alley. Hope you enjoy, too!

PASSION(ATE) FRUIT MARTINI

Ingredients

• 1 shot citrus vodka
• 1 shot white cranberry juice
• 1 shot passion fruit juice
• 1/2 shot orange liqueur
• 1 tablespoon cherry juice
• Orange peel twist, for garnish

Directions

Combine all ingredients except orange peel twist in a shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into martini glass.

Garnish with orange peel twist.

GodofFyreMountain72webOne-Paragraph Excerpt:

A low rumbling came from deep within the mountain. A blast of hot sulfurous air blew out the torches. Maili choked on a whimper as the image of Afu pulsed with a rippling darkness. Every instinct screamed at her to run, but she was frozen in place. With a screech that nigh made her ears bleed, the dark parted, rent like some great billowing curtain. The snakes writhed afore her. There was a clap of thunder as a huge, hard-muscled body was flung from the gap. She screamed as he knocked her flat, crushing her beneath his solid, burning weight.

You can buy this book here: http://store.samhainpublishing.com/fyre-mountain-p-7186.html

You can find Renee at the following links: website http://reneewildes.net/

(Facebook) https://www.facebook.com/#!/ReneeWildes1

 

AND DON”T FORGET TO CHECK OUT THESE OTHER FANTASTIC RECIPES FROM MY FRIENDS & FELLOW AUTHORS:

Selena Robins – http://selenarobinsmusings.com/2013/02/19/lookin-gouda-in-no-noodle-lasagna/

 

Posted by: reneewildes1 | February 8, 2013

Review: What a Girl Wants

What a Girl Wants
What a Girl Wants by Selena Robins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

She’s got the moxie. He’s got the sexy.

Travel journalist Maddie Saunders has new attitude, and wants two new accessories to go with it. One, turn her triple-X fantasies into reality with Mr. Sex-On-Legs—her friend, Alex Donovan. And two, find her biological father to see if her gene pool has a deep end…

Poor Alex! Tropical paradise, exotic cocktails, and a beautiful coworker hell-bent on having her wicked way with him. Should be every man’s not-so-secret fantasy come true. Except he likes Maddie, and doesn’t want to hurt her—and having a fling with the boss’s niece isn’t a great career move. But Maddie’s not looking for a relationship—she just wants to have some fun.

This started out as a light, playful book, full of witty banter and heavy on the sexual innuendo. Great setting and red-hot chemistry. Wonderful escapism reading.

But I’m an impatient reader, and I usually read darker, weightier romances. Selena Robins is sneaky, folks—she hooks you in with the fun and flirt, and THEN gets to the heart and soul of her characters. There is plenty here for a drama-lover like me. A fatherless heroine with abandonment issues, conflicted heroes with secrets…even an evil blackmailer playing everyone like an evil puppeteer. The second half of the book was right up my alley, as Alex works to get under Maddie’s mask to the real woman within.

Masks have always fascinated me—what people show to the world vs. what they keep hidden inside, and the level of trust needed to share what’s inside with another. And a hero who can call a heroine’s bluff and bring out the real woman—that’s MY kind of guy!

The only weird thing was a bizzaro technical issue with my beloved Kindle. For whatever reason, it kept replacing periods (.) in the story with three-quarter marks (3/4)—literally. Never had that happen before. Anyone else’s Kindle do an independent free-form act like that? Because at first it was distracting, and then once I got into the story, I quit seeing them. But I just went back and checked—they’re still there. I think my Kindle is possessed…

Definitely pick up this book—it’s a great read for everyone at either end of the spectrum. Not too many books can say that.

View all my reviews

Posted by: reneewildes1 | February 5, 2013

TASTY TUESDAY – CROCKPOT BEEF STROGNOFF

Lemme tell ya, for those of us that work 8-12 hours a day outside the home, (yes, I have a day job) the crockpot is an absolute LIFESAVER! Nothing like coming home to “supper’s done.” Makes the whole house smell yummy—and makes everyone hungry. I love mushrooms, so this recipe is right up my alley! You want to add the sour cream last minute, so it doesn’t break down.

3-4 lbs. beef sirloin steak, cubed

2 cans chicken broth

1 lb. sliced fresh mushrooms

1 can regular cola

½ c. chopped onion

1 envelope dry onion soup mix

2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. dried parsley flakes

½ tsp. black pepper

***

2 envelopes dry country gravy mix

2 c. sour cream

Hot cooked egg noodles

In slower cooker/crock pot, combine first nine ingredients. Cover and cook on low for7-8 hours until meat is tender.

With a slotted spoon, remove beef & mushrooms. Place gravy mix in large saucepan, gradually whisk in cooking liquid. Bring to a boil, cook & stir for 2 minutes until thickened. Add sour cream immediately before serving. Serve beef & mushrooms over noodles, top with gravy.

 DON’T FORGET TO CHECK OUT THESE OTHER GREAT RECIPES FROM MY FRIENDS & FELLOW AUTHORS:

Nancy Lauzon http://nancylauzon.com/2013/02/05/tasty-tuesday-copper-penny-salad/

Selena Robins http://selenarobinsmusings.com/2013/02/05/popovers/

 

 

Posted by: reneewildes1 | January 22, 2013

TASTY TUESDAY – PANIOLO CORNBREAD

GodofFyreMountain72webThis is another Sam Choy recipe from his divine “Polynesian Kitchen” – seems appropriate since TODAY is RELEASE DAY for GOD OF FYRE MOUNTAIN and it’s set on a fictitious South Pacific-esque island. Trying to warm up here in central WI b/c it’s -13 with a wc of -50 here. Schools are closed. I mentioned to my friends last week that I grew up w/cornbread being a staple in our household – we ate ours w/butter, bacon & applesauce. This is a whole new twist on it!

 

 

1½ c. cake flour

½ c. cornmeal

½ c. sugar

1 Tbsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

1¼ c. coconut milk

½ c. (1 stick) butter, melted

2 eggs

1 8-oz. can crushed pineapple, drained

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9×9-inch baking pan w/cooking spray & set aside. SIFT cornmeal, cake flour, baking powder, sugar & salt into medium mixing bowl. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, melted butter & coconut milk. Combine wet and dry mixes together, THEN stir in the drained pineapple last. Pour into pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, until set firm (toothpick inserted into center comes out clean) and golden brown.

Cool for 30 minutes. Loosen edges, place serving plate over pan and invert cornbread onto plate. Serve warm with butter and honey.

Also check out these other recipes from my friends and fellow authors:

SELENA ROBINS http://selenarobinsmusings.com/2013/01/21/cupcakes-for-dinneryes-im-serious/

A CATHERINE NOON http://taurusandtaurus.blogspot.com/2013/01/tasty-tuesday-workday-meatloaf.html

NANCY LAUZON http://nancylauzon.com/2013/01/22/tasty-tuesday-yummy-pot-roast/

 

 

 

Posted by: reneewildes1 | January 15, 2013

Tangerine Angel Cupcakes with Sweet Cloud Frosting

Tangerine Angel Cupcakes with Sweet Cloud Frosting.

Posted by: reneewildes1 | January 15, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Cravin’ Cornbread

Tasty Tuesday: Cravin’ Cornbread.

Posted by: reneewildes1 | January 15, 2013

TASTY TUESDAY – KA’U ORANGE-GINGER CHICKEN

nanowrimo_05_120x240 51QJ1770S4L._SS500_ When I was little my mom would tell me stories about growing up wild in Hawaii, on Oahu. She and her friends would each get a hunk of dried fish and a section of sugar cane and go out to play for the day. They used to raid the neighbor’s mango trees. She’d tell me how three-finger poi was better than two-finger poi, which my sister and I could never figure out b/c poi is poi, right? It’s the same thing; one’s just mashed for longer than the other. But according to Mom, it makes a huge difference.

GodofFyreMountain72webSince GOD OF FYRE MOUNTAIN comes out in 1 week, I decided this Tasty Tuesday recipe should do honor to the South Pacific-esque setting I used. I was able to use what I learned as far as what is grown and used on the islands. Pigs and chickens were the domestic animals of choice for my villagers.

My favorite bit of research was finding an absolute GEM of a cookbook, “Sam Choy’s Polynesian Kitchen,” (ISBN 0-7868-6475-3) in my local library. Not only is it recipes, but there’s also tales of his travels to each island mentioned & the people he met. He also discusses what can be substituted for what, in case there’s an ingredient you CAN’T get, although most stuff can be found in an Asian market, even here. The following recipe is in the “Hawaii” chapter, on page 88:

I love this recipe b/c it has big, exotic flavors using ingredients I can get in central Wisconsin in the middle of winter on a working mom’s budget!

INGREDIENTS:

1 whole chicken, about 3 pounds

¼ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice

¼ cup dry sherry

2 Tbsp. salad oil

1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger root

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp. minced fresh basil

Salt & pepper to taste

Orange sections from 2 oranges, for garnish

Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Cut chicken into pieces. Ina large mixing bowl, combine orange juice, sherry, oil, ginger, garlic, mustard, minced basil, and salt & pepper. Add the chicken pieces to the bowl and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 6 hours, turning occasionally.

Drain chicken, reserving liquid. Place pieces in a large shallow baking pan, and bake in a 400 F oven for 25 minutes. Drain off fat. Pour reserved liquid over the chicken and continue to bake, basting occasionally, about 25 minutes until chicken is browned.

Place chicken on serving platter and drizzle pan juices over chicken. Garnish with the orange slices and basil leaves.

(P.S. I like to serve w/hot cooked rice and flatbread—and mai tais!)

CHECK OUT THESE OTHER GREAT TASTY TUESDAY RECIPES FROM MY FRIENDS:

Nancy Lauzon http://nancylauzon.com/2013/01/15/tasty-tuesday-cravin-cornbread/

Selena Robins http://selenarobinsmusings.com/2013/01/15/tangerine-angel-cupcakes-with-sweet-cloud-frosting/

 

Posted by: reneewildes1 | December 30, 2012

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted by: reneewildes1 | December 12, 2012

THE NEXT BIG THING

What is your working title of your book?

GodofFyreMountain72webGOD OF FYRE MOUNTAIN, Guardians of Light Book 6—comes out on1/22/2013

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The hero DAX first made an appearance DUST OF DREAMS (Guardians of Light Book 4). Pryseis was the heroine of DUST, a dream faerie. Dax is her grown nephew, son of her deceased brother. But Dax’s mother was a forest troll, making him a Halfling possessing the powers of both. I decided he really deserved his own book and FYRE MT was the result.

For my heroine I created a “primitive” tropical islander human named MAILI and created an ancient Polynesian world. Long ago—as in ages—a race of trolls lived in the island. Maili’s people worship them as gods, so when Dax mysteriously appears in the fyre god Afu’s temple, they assume Dax is Afu. When the local volcano threatens to erupt, they give Maili to Dax as a maiden sacrifice so he’ll be appeased and stop the eruption.

What genre does your book fall under?

FANTASY ROMANCE

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I confess I think JASON MAMOA has to be the hottest male walking around on Planet Earth today. He is totally my Dax! The one thing that pissed me big-time off in Stargate Atlantis was the utterly wasted chemistry between Ronan (him) and  Teyla (RACHEL LUTTELL)—they were smoking hot together and the writers/producers never went anywhere with it! When you get two characters that “click” like that you RUN with it! So that’s who I had in my mental movie while I was writing.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

WORST CASEOF MISTAKEN IDENTITY EVER

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’ve never had an agent express interest in representing me. I pitched directly to an editor at the NJ RWA Conference several years back.

The Guardians of Light series is published by Samhain Publishing, and my editor is the fantabulous Linda Ingmanson. I’ve been blessed to have the same editor throughout my career, and we work well together. It’s wonderful to work with someone who loves fantasy as much as I do, and who believes in me and the Guardians. She’s been my mentor and advocate, and I’ve learned TONS from her.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

GOD OF FYRE MOUNTAIN was my first and only NaNo project—and I can say with complete certainty it will be my last. As a die-hard plotter, that whole 50,000-words-in-a-month-off-the-cuff thing was a nightmare—I successfully “finished” but it took me a full year to REwrite the garbled mess I created.  It usually takes me a full year to write a book, working around a full-time day job, and I constantly polish and rewrite and tweak as I go.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Not books but authors.

I read a lot of fantasy, and my favorite writer in MERCEDES LACKEY. Even before I was published, I had RWA contest judges comparing my voice to hers, which I consider the ultimate compliment—although my love scenes are hotter!  I think BIANCA D’ARC and I approach characters the same way, and have a similar informal style.

I find it funny that on the “Who Do You Write Like?” quiz, no matter what sample I use, I consistently get tossed in w/Shakespeare…

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

While I knew Dax had to have his own book, I found Maili the driving force behind the story. To balance her own hopes and dreams against the expectations of her family and friends, to confront what she thought she knew and believed, to accept new ideas and truths. She had the biggest character growth arc.

I’ve always thought volcanoes were the most awesome force of nature—beautiful and deadly, but also the catalyst for change. They destroy—and create. The end and the beginning. It was weird. We were out driving on Saturday, and my daughter said, “Look at Rib Mountain—it looks like a volcano.” And sure enough, the summit was smoking. (From the Rothschild paper mills BEHIND it, but the temporary visual was really cool.)

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

For those of you who are reading the Guardians of Light series, you get to follow along with the older, familiar characters from previous books—Dara and Loren, Brannan, Anuk, Pryseis and Benilo, the dwarf mage Pahn, the now-evil Lady Alani and her poor clueless father Lord Raun—as they try to figure out a way to get Dax back. There’s also a further introduction to Dara’s and Loren’s daughter Elyria, who’s destined to have her OWN book someday in my future “Daughters of the Guardians” trilogy—each book starring Braeca, Elyria and Piroska in turn.

I’ve already got “Braeca” plotted out—her hero is Flyn, a dark elf. I’m currently finishing up “Moonwitched,” starring Mari, Matteo and Valkyn from previous books. This will be the seventh and final book in the Guardians of Light series. Now on to The Next Generation…

And more author interviews from my friends:

MARY HUGHES http://maryhughesbooks.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-next-big-thing-what-im-working-on.html

A CATHERINE NOON http://acatherinenoon.blogspot.com/2012/11/sunday-box-talk-next-big-thing.html

KIMBERLY TROUTTE http://kimberleytroutte.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-next-big-thing.html

SELENA ROBINS http://selenarobinsmusings.com/2012/11/17/the-next-big-thing/

HELEN C JOHANNES http://helencjohannes.blogspot.com/

Posted by: reneewildes1 | December 4, 2012

TASTY TUESDAY – SMOKING BISHOP PUNCH (alcoholic)

I got this recipe from the “Udderly Delicious Recipes Cookbook (Fine Wisconsin Recipes Presented by The Junior League of Racine).” Racine is where my parents live. This particular recipe was submitted by Lisa Ray Johnson, and is a dramatic holiday drink for anyone w/a crock pot.

6 smallish oranges

1 jar whole cloves

1 gallon apple cider

1 fifth rum

1 fifth peach or apple brandy

1 tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. ground cloves

¼ tsp. nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350. Stud the oranges with whole cloves ~½-inch apart—the more the merrier! Bake spiced oranges on cookie sheet in oven for 1 hour. In a large kettle heat the apple cider on the stovetop. Place baked oranges in bottom of crockpot, set on lowest setting. Sprinkle with cinnamon, ground cloves & nutmeg. Add rum to the hot apple cider. Pour brandy over the oranges and—this is the best part—IGNITE. There will be a beautiful blue flame and the oranges will sizzle. Immediately douse with the rum/apple cider mixture to extinguish the flames. Serve hot.

(a note from the back of the cookbook:

“The Junior League of Racine Wisconsin, Inc. reaches out to all young women regardless of race, creed, religion or national origin who demonstrate an interest in and a commitment to voluntarism. It is an international organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism and to improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.”)

Don’t miss out on these other FABU recipes from my author friends:

SELENA ROBINS http://selenarobinsmusings.com/2012/12/03/for-the-chocolate-enriched-diet-plan-2/

MOIRA KEITH http://moirakeith.com/2012/12/04/apple-and-sausage-stuffing/

P.G. FORTE http://rhymeswithforeplay.blogspot.com/

 

Posted by: reneewildes1 | November 28, 2012

Review: Burning Bright

Burning Bright
Burning Bright by Rachel Wilder
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Magical Guardian & veterinarian Sasha Soskoff moves from his Coven in Madison to downtown Chicago to try for a prestigious new research job at Northwestern University. A brutal mugging by Russian mobsters—and having no health insurance—puts him at the mercy of the outrageously sexy Dom Neal Harrison, the owner of the Factory, one of the hottest gay clubs in town. Neal and his men are former Marines with a big secret—they’re shape-shifters. Sasha’s got enough to worry about with making ends meet while unemployed and trying to land his dream job. Being targeted by Russian mobsters and getting caught in a shape-shifter turf war was not what he’d bargained for. The last thing he needs is a relationship complicating things. But Neal is smoking hot—and definitely interested in Sasha.

This was a total have-to-read-to-the-end-in-one-sitting book. I don’t usually read M/M, let alone M/M/M, let alone BDSM. But this book rocked! The characters totally made me fall in love with them—all of them. They all had their own personalities, stories and issues. Just like real people. I adored Sasha, just trying to get by as best he could and stay afloat in situations WAY over his head, poor guy. The shape-shifter community was fully realized, with its own customs and rules and hierarchy. The chemistry between Sasha and Neal is off the charts. I got a bit squeamish at some of the BDSM scenes—but that’s because I’m a wuss, not because the book was too hard-core. All scenes were consensual and the characters were totally into it. Those guys are definitely more adventurous than little ol’ me—more naughty than nice! But I was cheering for their HEA and for the bad guys to get what they deserved.

View all my reviews

Posted by: reneewildes1 | November 27, 2012

TASTY TUESDAY – Chicken (TURKEY) Tetrazzini

Wondering what to do with all those Thanksgiving leftovers?  This is a cool, easy-peasy recipe from one of the Timberline Figure Skating Club members, Nikki Ogstad.

8 oz. thin spaghetti or vermicelli – cooked to taste, drained & rinsed

2 c. cooked chicken or turkey, diced

2 c. chicken broth

1 c. cream

1 c. grated parmesan cheese (divide in half)

12 oz. sliced mushrooms, sautéed

1/3 c. butter

1/3 c. sherry wine

¼ c. flour

2 cloves garlic, pressed

1 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

Preheat oven at 375. Butter a casserole dish. Melt butter in large skillet. Blend in flour, salt, garlic & pepper. Add chicken broth & cream. Cook until slightly thickened, stirring constantly. Add sherry & HALF the parmesan cheese, then ALL the spaghetti, chicken & mushrooms. Mix well & dump into the casserole dish. Sprinkle w/remaining parmesan cheese. Bake for30-45 minutes until hot & bubbly & golden brown on top.

GREAT WHEN SERVED W/GARLIC BREAD OR CHEESY BREAD!

Don’t forget to check out these other great posts:

P.G. FORTE http://rhymeswithforeplay.blogspot.com/2012/11/thai-coconut-curry-pumpkin-soup.html

NANCY LAUZON http://nancylauzon.com/2012/11/27/tasty-tuesday-friendly-flank-steak/

MOIRA KEITH http://moirakeith.com/2012/11/27/holiday-tequila-sweet-potatoes/

SELENA ROBINS http://selenarobinsmusings.com/2012/11/26/my-favorite-vegetable/

Posted by: reneewildes1 | November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving Drama – I Hate Cars!

We did NOT make it to Brookfield on Thanksgiving to my in-laws, b/c my STUPID car has an overheating issue no one can seem to fix. We left at 8 AM from Wausau, to give ourselves plenty of time. 51 S to Madison, then 94 E to Brookfield. Easy Peasy. Just had the car vetted at Valvoline. Good to go. Until we boiled over at the Hwy 21/Coloma exit (where we normally turn off to go to Tomah) – only an hour from home. Stopped and hung out at a BP drinking coffee and waiting for it to cool down enough.  Got back on the road–apparently didn’t wait long enough because she started foaming again at Westfield exit, not 30 minutes later. We’re not EVEN to Wisconsin Dells yet and already 10 AM. Tried to call in-laws–no bars on cell phones.

Stopped at CITGO, started thinking long & hard. Todd has to work tomorrow 4 AM–Black Friday. CAN’T MISS. Tami FINALLY has doctor’s appt. tomorrow 9:45 AM to address insomnia issue. CAN’T MISS. Dog trapped in kennel, needs to be bailed out. CAN’T MISS. What if car goes belly-up even FARTHER from home? How much do I risk? So I pulled the plug and announced we were returning home–to an empty, foodless house. Kids were pissed. Locked myself in a CITGO bathroom stall to bawl in private. A very pregnant woman asked if I was okay. Not my finest moment…

Car overheated AGAIN in Plover on the way home, but at least there was a Walmart still open.Let the car cool off while we went shopping for our OWN Thanksgiving meal. Todd finally got a hold of his parents to tell them, only to be informed that his oldest son Bryan had decided to stay home in Milwaukee to see his dad and siblings–and now it was all for nothing, and I was the bad guy. I HATE being the responsible one–no one appreciates it.

Got home to a quiet house, two sulking kids and one sulking husband. Josh wanted to go get Abby right away. We made dinner–even crescent rolls & cherry pie only got me so much redemption. Watched the Redskins game–they won, which was the only bright spot in my day. Watched King Arthur and went to bed.

Todd went to work on time. Dog home safe & sound. Cat back to  being pissed. Tami went to doctor & is now on 3 mg Melatonin–slept through the night last night for the first time in WEEKS/MONTHS. So I have to think all the drama was worth it. But I hate drama as much as I hate cars!

Already wondering what I’m supposed to do about Christmas!

Posted by: reneewildes1 | November 13, 2012

Tasty Tuesday – Eggplant Casserole

EGGPLANT CASSEROLE

3 slices of bacon, cook to get1 Tbls. bacon fat – keep crumbled bacon for topping if desired

1 large eggplant

1 c. canned chopped tomatoes w/juice

1 c. bread crumbs

½ onion, chopped

½ green pepper, chopped

½ c. bread crumbs (for topping)

1 Tbls. parmesan cheese (for topping)

1 Tbls. butter

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. black pepper

Boil eggplant in shell for 30 minutes. Heat oven to 375. Grease casserole dish w/butter. Cool eggplant, remove pulp & place pulp in large mixing bowl. (Discard skin) In skillet w/bacon fat, sauté onion & green pepper. Add tomatoes & juice, simmer vegetable mix for 10 minutes. Add 1 c. bread crumbs, salt, pepper, butter, Worcestershire sauce AND eggplant pulp. Mix well and pour into casserole dish. In separate small bowl, toss ½ c. bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and crumbled bacon bits together & sprinkle over top of casserole. Bake until crumbs are golden brown & casserole is hot & bubbly—us. ~ 20-30 minutes, depending on your oven.

CHECK OUT THESE OTHER GREAT RECIPES

SELENA ROBINS http://selenarobinsmusings.com/2012/11/12/honey-i-shrunk-the-dinner/

P.G. FORTE http://rhymeswithforeplay.blogspot.com/2012/11/pumpkin-spice-cake.html

NANCY LAUZON http://nancylauzon.com/2012/11/13/tasty-tuesday-pizzeria/

 

Posted by: reneewildes1 | October 31, 2012

Belated Halloween “Tasty Tuesday”

We decided to do our Tasty Tuesday TODAY in honor of Halloween, and I’m afraid I’m “coloring outside of the lines” against everyone else, b/c today is my 15th wedding anniversary and I decided to go with a MAINE/seafood recipe b/c that’s where we spent our honeymoon.

I have a recipe for Lobster Casserole that works well with other seafoods – since lobster’s hard to come by in Wisconsin (at least on THIS working mom’s budget) I’ve experimented with shrimp, cod and haddock variations. My grandma’s rolling in her grave right now, but substitution can be fun…*cough cough*

LOBSTER (SEAFOOD) CASSEROLE

3 c. lobster (insert seafood alternative) meat

8 Tbls. butter

8 Tbls. flour

6 Tbls. sherry

10 slices bread

2 pints cream

2 Tbls. lemon juice

2 beaten eggs

1-1/2 tsp. dry mustard

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp. paprika

1 pkg. (sleeve) crushed Ritz crackers (for topping) – or cornflakes

Preheat oven to 325. In skillet melt 2 Tbls. butter, add meat & cook until just done. In large mixing bowl, combine REST of butter, flour, lemon juice, egg, mustard, parika, salt and HALF the cream. Add the meat & stir. Tear the bread into small pieces and add to mix. Add rest of cream slowly–as much as needed to give a medium thickness to “batter.” (You might not use it all) Lastly, add sherry. Pour into large casserole dish; top with crackers. Bake 30-40 minutes or until hot & bubbly and golden brown on top.

DON’T FORGET TO CHECK OUT THESE OTHER FANTABULOUS RECIPES FROM MY FELLOW WRITER FRIENDS:

PG FORTE

http://rhymeswithforeplay.blogspot.com/2012/10/pan-de-muerto.html

NANCY LAUZON

http://nancylauzon.com/2012/10/31/gimme-candy/

SELENA ROBINS

http://selenarobinsmusings.com/2012/10/31/purple-magic-candy-apples/

MOIRA KEITH

http://moirakeith.com/2012/10/31/brain-hemorrhage/

Posted by: reneewildes1 | October 9, 2012

Tasty Tuesday – Cranberry Pumpkin Bread

So my daughter is a member of the Timberline Figure Skating Club here in Wausau, Wi. Several years back they did a fundraiser involving a cookbook. Everyone contributed–before our time, so none from me. There’s one by “Friends of Timberline” no individual name to credit. But it’s a great fall recipe, involving two WI staples–pumpkins & cranberries. Wouldn’t think tangy-zing would go with rich-spicy, but it’s surprisingly good. Lots of depth and contrast!

2 slightly beaten eggs

2 c. sugar

1/2 c. oil

1 c. solid-pack pumpkin (canned is fine–unless you’re the ambitious kind who readily chop-boil-mash)

2-1/4 c. flour

1 Tbl. pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. chopped cranberries

Preheat over to 350. Grease & flour 2 loaf pans. In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, oil & pumpkin. Mix well. In another large bowl, combine flour, pie spice, soda & salt. Add dry ingredient mix into wet mix, stirring until dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened. Stir in cranberries. Spoon batter equally into pans. Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Makes whole house smell really yummy!

Don’t forget to check out these other great recipes from my fellow writers:

Italian Sausage and Vegetable Soup by Moira Keithhttp://moirakeith.com/2012/10/09/italian-sausage-vegetable-soup/

Where did the Peanut Go? by Selena Robins – http://selenarobinsmusings.com/

Besto Pesto Biscuits by PG Forte http://rhymeswithforeplay.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-besto-pesto-biscuits.html

 

Posted by: reneewildes1 | October 6, 2012

Review: Buckling Down: A Wild Ride Story

Buckling Down: A Wild Ride Story
Buckling Down: A Wild Ride Story by Moira Keith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So, all my friends know I am a die-hard PBR fan, and I’m NOT referring to BEER. No, I’m talking about Professional Bull Riding. I have a stuffed animal version of Blueberry Wine my kids got me for Xmas – it’s on my desk at work. So reading about a bull rider at the National Finals Rodeo in Vegas? I am SO there!

Levi McKenna is on the comeback/redemption trail. Unfortunately the media seems more concerned with who his latest love interest is than with his professional goals. Coming back to Vegas brings him full circle with old family friends – including his old prom date, Sydney Hart, all grown up. He finds her singing in her brother’s bar, and they decide to renew their old friendship. Sydney’s got issues of her own, in the name of a persistent, dangerous stalker. Trying to renew old friendships in the midst of a media circus and a premier sporting event isn’t easy. But the chemistry between these two is undeniable, and they’re determined to not walk away before seeing if they truly can pick up where they left off.

This was a fun, fast read, full of denim and sawdust and music and beer. Ms. Keith really brings the world to life, including the pressures involved that, sadly, have NOTHING to do with bull riding. Cowboys just trying to do what they love, what they’re good at – and hopefully make a living and not get killed while they’re at it. Women who truly love them fighting off the women who are just “buckle bunnies” looking for a good time and a notch on the bedpost. It’s a tough life, full of stress and challenges, but I really found myself cheering for Levi’s and Sydney’s HEA. Ms. Keith does not disappoint! I recommend this book for both the true fans and the curious!

View all my reviews

Posted by: reneewildes1 | October 6, 2012

Review: In the Dark

In the Dark
In the Dark by P.G. Forte
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m not an official vampire-lore fangirl, mostly because it seems like everyone’s doing the “same” vampires. There are so many conventions that it seems like “nothing new.” So I was pleasantly surprised with this book, because Ms. Forte’s vampiric world is truly unique. It’s full of these wonderfully “live” unique characters – twins Julie and Marc are BORN vampires, they were not “turned.” Julie represents the sensual nature of vampires while Marc is wonderfully empiric, trying to determine and quantify the very nature of vampires. This is not one of Samhain’s romances – this is an urban fantasy with a mystery twist, as the twins’ uncle/guardian Conrad has gone missing. Conrad’s partner Damian – a truly delightful, fun character, very flamboyant and full of life – is frantic to find him before their family den gets restless and looks to appoint a new leader. Following these characters in their search for Conrad, and discovering their origins along the way, is a great way to spend your time. Ms. Forte weaves the gothic and historical together in a pulsing, breathing fabric of fiction, and I highly recommend for anyone looking for something new and different!

View all my reviews

Posted by: reneewildes1 | October 2, 2012

Tasty Tuesday – Aunt Maxine’s Spiced Applesauce Cake

I love easy-peasy whip-it-together & throw-it-in-the-oven recipes – these are great for picnics and potlucks and snack cakes – they go fast!

1-3/4 c. flour

1 c. white sugar

1 c. unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup butter

1 egg

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp.salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. all spice

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. cloves

Preheat over to 350. Grease & flour 7 x 10 inch pan. Cream butter & sugar in large mixing bowl. Add egg & beat well. In a separate bowl, mix DRY ingredients with the flour. Mix 1/2 c of the flour mixture into the wet egg mixture, then add the applesauce, LAST add the rest of the flour mixture. Pour mixture into pan. Bake for 45 minutes. Test center w/toothpick for doneness – if toothpick comes out clean, you’re good to go!

Check out these other recipes from my friends and fellow authors:
Two Hours to Thinner Thighs – Selena Robins – http://selenarobinsmusings.com/2012/10/02/2-hours-to-thinner-thighs/

Sinfully Delicious Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies – Kimberley Troutte -http://kimberleytroutte.blogspot.ca/2012/10/tasty-tuesday-sinfully-delicious.html

 

Posted by: reneewildes1 | August 8, 2012

Riever’s Heart Excerpt (Moonlit Gardens)

Verdeen paced through the lush gardens, letting the honey scent of night-blooming moonflowers soothe her. Their waxy ivory petals glowed in the lights. Thank the Lady goddess everyone seemed to be inside. The splashing of the wishing fountain drew her, and she emerged into a small clearing lit by pink mage light. She wasn’t the first to venture there. She froze at the intimidating figure staring into the shadowy ripples of water. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know anyone was here—”

“Don’t go.” Aryk turned from the fountain and held out a sun-bronzed hand. “Stay.”

She eyed his hand, wary of his touch. “Daq Aryk, what are you doing out here?”

Was he following her?

“Just Aryk. I needed quiet.” He raked his hand through his hair. “I felt on display.”

She could relate to both parts of that statement, and unexpected sympathy welled for the stranger. As if of its own volition, her body moved closer to him. His eyes drew her gaze. Their intensity made her falter. “Why have you come here to Poshnari-Unai, my city?”

“To set my destiny in motion.” His lips quirked at her puzzlement. “Stovak nos briel.

She cocked her head. “What does that mean?”

“‘Destiny awaits.’ Sounds grand and mysterious, hai?” He sighed and rubbed the back of his neck. “’Tisn’t. I’ve a political problem back home. Cianan thought Loren could help.”

Humans believed in the Destiny Hand? “Well, he’s very good at solving most problems. Everyone’s but mine.”

“Your eyes are red. You’ve been crying. Why?” He frowned, but she read genuine concern in his eyes. “Today you triumphed over everyone. I’ve never seen anything like it. You were amazing.”

“Really?” She cursed the tremor in her voice, the eager need for approval only too obvious even to herself.

His smile softened the harsh planes of his face and deepened the crinkles around his eyes, making him seem younger and less imposing. “Hai. Really. I’ve seen many a warrior in my lifetime. Believe me when I say you’re truly gifted, kyra. Smart, strong and beautiful. Poetry in motion.”

Something melted within her at the compliment. There was that word again, kyra, his husky tone almost making it an endearment.

“The one thing I wanted most in this world slipped through my fingers this afternoon,” she confessed. “A chance to be selected as a ranger trainee, to further my studies. It didn’t happen.” A tear slid down her cheek. She froze as he reached out to brush it away.

“There are many paths to greatness,” he told her. “A warrior’s greatest strength is the scope of his vision. You showed vision and judgment today, but take care lest your focus cause you to miss your true path. A warrior must above all be adaptable to change. The one thing that never changes is the fact that everything changes.”

Aryk held out his hand again, palm up, and Verdeen found herself reaching to take it. Big mistake. His thick, scarred fingers slid over hers in a caress which made her tingle in places not even remotely attached to her hand. She entwined her fingers with his to still them and bit her lip at the zing of awareness as his thumb brushed across the sensitive skin of her inner wrist. “Cease,” she whispered.

“Cease what?” His voice dropped to a smooth, dark seduction of lethal proportions. “This?” His fingers teased hers with long, light strokes. “Or this?” He rubbed gentle circles over her pulse, which hammered at his touch.

She should pull away but didn’t move. Couldn’t move. “This isn’t proper.”

Some rebellious part of her didn’t care.

“Do you always do what’s proper, kyra?”

She had to know. “What’s kyra mean?”

“’Tis a term for a woman warrior.”

Verdeen nodded. “We also have such a term, ancient and seldom used. Vertenya. Few exist in our world to carry such a title.”

According to Cianan, there were now but two—Queen Dara and herself.

Aryk slid closer, the heat from his body curling around her. “I answered your question. Now you answer mine.”

What was his question? If only she’d focused on his words instead of on the rich smoky warmth of his voice. Like crème rija pudding with honeyed brandy. Sheer decadence to make her melt.

“Do you always do what’s proper?”

Female in the military? It didn’t get any less proper; just ask her absent parents. Acourse, holding hands with a royal guest in a moonlit garden wasn’t exactly proper, either. Yet here she stood with her hand in his, close enough for his subtle, musky scent to push the fragrance of the flowers from her awareness. All she could think of was how she wanted to move closer yet. Dazed, she shook her head.

Heat flared in his changeable eyes. “They said this is a wishing fountain. If you make a wish and toss in a pebble, your wish comes true.”

“’Tis true. A legend as old as this city itself. There are faeries with the power to grant it, if the wish is personal and comes from the heart.”

Aryk uncurled his free hand, revealed a stone. With a flick, he tossed it over her shoulder.

Verdeen heard the splash.

“Guess what I wished for.”

“Your destiny would be fulfilled?”

Stovak nos briel. Nay, what I wished for is more personal and out of my hands.”

“What’s that?”

Their gazes clashed, then locked. His eyes narrowed, darkened. “A kiss, freely given, from you.”

What? Her heart skipped a beat. She froze. That was it? Why waste the power of a wish on such a frivolous thing?

He must have read the disbelief on her face. “’Tis a rarer gift than you’d ken. But tonight, in this magical place, all things seem possible.”

They did. They truly did. She should’ve been angry or offended at his outrageous request. She should return to the party. Today had been emotional chaos. She felt raw, vulnerable, in its wake. Tonight, heart ruled mind. She nibbled her lower lip, undecided. Why? Mayhaps ’twas the moonlight, the seclusion of the garden setting. Who would know? Mayhaps ’twas his words, the understanding on his face. The heat in his eyes, the warmth of his hand.

Or mayhaps Cianan was right. Mayhaps the woman tired of the warrior having the say.

Posted by: reneewildes1 | August 8, 2012

RIEVER’S HEART – OUT TODAY IN PAPERBACK!

I’m so excited the big day is finally here! RIEVER’S HEART is now available in paperback today! For all my non-techie family & friends who still like to hold a “real” book in their hands & have on a shelf… This day’s for YOU!<LOL>

Riever’s Heart is a book about dreams – both shattered & realized –  & Plan Bs, closed doors & opened windows…

BLURB:

The warrior in her was ready for anything. But she never saw him coming…

Guardians of Light, Book 5

Verdeen is on the brink of becoming an elite warrior ranger until the ultimate humiliation—no war mare chooses her for advanced training. King Loren’s consolation prize isn’t much better. Journey to the Isle of Ice as bodyguard to a human riever. Daq Aryk. Barbarian. Prince of thieves.

Aryk dreams the impossible: unite six fractious clans into a peaceful nation. Failure means they are all doomed to kill each other off—and the nightmares of his son’s death by sword will come true. The new elven ambassador rouses his ire, not because she’s female, but because she’s inexperienced. Her possibly needless death weighs on his already overburdened soul. Her beauty is a distraction he can’t afford.

In a fragrant, moonlit garden, Verdeen dares yield to an irresistible compulsion to kiss the mortal riever. The heat shakes her to the core, and frees a desire that should occur but once in her life. With a mate.

As their quest twists down ever more dangerous paths, though, their bond is the asset that could assure peace…or the liability that could send a dream down in flames.


Product Warnings

This tale illustrates what happens when adventurous dreamer meets seen-it-all cynic. Contains hot, no-holds-barred sex, voyeurism, and some self-loving. Also betrayal and some graphic (but never gratuitous) battle violence.

 

Posted by: reneewildes1 | August 6, 2012

Tasty Tuesday #2

This is a good one for any gathering – who doesn’t love CHICKEN WINGS?

SWEET & SASSY ORIENTAL CHICKEN WINGS

4 LBS CHICKEN WINGS

1 CUP SOY SAUCE

1 CUP WHITE SUGAR

1/4 CUP VEGETABLE OIL

1/4 CUP PINEAPPLE JUICE

1 TSP. GINGER

1 TSP. GARLIC SALT

Place chicken wings in NON-METAL baking pan. Wisk all the other ingredients together and pour over chicken. Refrigerate for 12 hours.

Heat oven to 350. Pull wings from marinade and bake COVERED in a 9 x 13 pan for 30 minutes. Uncover, brush with marinade & bake an additional 30 minutes.

The above makes for a crispy, glazed chicken wing. Can also be put in a crockpot on low for 8 hours for fall-off-the-bone tender…

DON’T FORGET TO CHECK OUT THESE OTHER TASTY TUESDAY RECIPES FROM MY FRIENDS:

Chocolate Cherry Dream Pie by PG Forte - http://www.rhymeswithforeplay.blogspot.com/2012/08/chocolate-cherry-dream-pie.html

Devilishly Decadent Dip by Moira Keith http://moirakeith.com/2012/08/07/devilishly-decadent-dip/

Stress-Free Layered Salad by Nancy Lauzon -http://chickdickmysteries.com/2012/08/07/tasty-tuesday-layered-salad/Decadent Angel by Sloan McBride - http://sloanmcbride.blogspot.ca/

Aunt Noony’s After Glow by A. Catherine Noon - http://taurusandtaurus.blogspot.com/2012/08/tasty-tuesday-aunt-noonys-afterglow.html

Sexy Sassy Saucy by Selena Robins - http://selenarobinsmusings.com/2012/08/07/sexy-sassy-saucy/

Posted by: reneewildes1 | July 31, 2012

TASTY TUESDAY

People cook with what’s around them–local items are always cheaper/fresher and if you’re like me you work on a budget. I live in the Midwest, in central Wisconsin. The original dairy state, farm country. Real butter and cheese. Potatoes. Cranberries. We cook with grandma’s recipes, scaled down to “modern” proportions, since we’re no longer likely to be feeding a dozen hands before 4 AM! I’ve got two from Grandma’s cookbook we use on a special occasion/gathering. Nothing beats down-home cooking.

ROGUE REFORMATION (CHEESY POTATOES) – The Ultimate Comfort Food For Heating Up A Cold WI Winter Night!
(The easy version – since NO ONE wants to sit there w/a pile of potatoes, a hunk of cheese & a cheese grater…)
1 lb frozen shredded hashbrowns (thawed)
1/2 tsp onion salt
1/2 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup REAL sour cream
1/4 cup REAL butter (regular/salted, not “sweet”), softened
4 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
salt & pepper to taste
Preheat over to 375. Melt the butter in saucepan. Place hash browns in lightly greased 9 x 13 pan. Top w/onion salt & shredded cheese. Mix butter, chicken soup & sour cream together, pour/spread over potato/cheese. Salt & pepper as you will. Cover & bake for 45 minutes. UNCOVER & continue to bake an additional 15 minutes or until golden brown…
(P.S. For family gathering might have to double or triple recipe/pans – I can’t tell you how many it serves b/c portions are meaningless at potlucks!<LOL>)
also
WHO YOU CALLING A TART?
CRANBERRY MUFFINS W/BUTTER SAUCE – sweet & tart with a decadent buttery finish…
2 cups pre-sifted flour (although if you HAVE a sifter…kids LOVE sifting flour…)
2 cups whole cranberries (Tomah, WI – home of Ocean Spray…)
1 cup (white) sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup water
3 Tbls. REAL butter (regular/salted, not “sweet”)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 350. Grease muffin pans well. Mix flour, soda & salt in mixing bowl. In a SEPARATE mixing bowl comine everything else. Then add “wet” mixture to the “dry” & stir until moist/sticky. Pour into muffin cups, fill 2/3-3/4. Bake for 30 minutes. (Says makes 16 muffins but depends on how you fill…)
WHILE THEY’RE BAKING…
BUTTER SAUCE (sheer decadence!)
Combine:
1 cup (white) sugar
1/2 cup REAL butter (either works, but for this one “sweet” (unsalted) butter tastes a smidge better…)
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp. REAL vanilla extract (not that fake crap – pgah!)
in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cover, reduce heat & let simmer for a few minutes. Serve warm over cut muffins.

Please join me and my friends as we share some of our personal favorites! You can go to:

SELENA ROBINS http://selenarobinsmusings.com/2012/07/31/sweet-spicy-menage-a-trois

MOIRA KEITH http://moirakeith.com/2012/07/31/bewitching-baileys-cupcakes/

PG FORTE http://rhymeswithforeplay.blogspot.ca/2012/07/sweet-summer-lovin.html

A CATHERINE NOON http://taurusandtaurus.blogspot.com/2012/07/tasty-tuesday-ambrosia.html

SLOAN MCBRIDE http://sloanmcbride.blogspot.com/2012/07/tasty-tuesday.html

NANCY LAUZON http://chickdickmysteries.com/2012/07/31/tasty-tuesday-happy-trails-trail-mix/

Posted by: reneewildes1 | July 28, 2012

GARAGE TREASURE HUNT

So we had these neighbors three years ago. Nice people. We moved in and soon thereafter they moved out. Evicted, actually. But we’d started to become friends, especially our daughters, Tami & Hallie. So when they got booted, they asked us to hang onto their stuff until they got settled. That was three YEARS ago. We’ve seen them once. They’ve moved at least twice since then, changed their phone #s. We have no way to contact them and they haven’t contacted us. Exactly how long are we supposed to NOT use our garage?

So Todd & Tami started going through a “toss/sell” list. There’s a LOT of broken junk to toss. A garden hose full of holes, broken chairs, a  busted cedar chest, a lot of rodent-damaged linens… Yuck!

Some stuff we’ll keep for them, b/c it’s stuff I know I would never part with – her wedding dress, a baby’s christening gown that looks to be at least 50 years old given the style, some WWII paraphernalia. If they ever show up, it’s theirs. There’s an itty-bitty cooler we can plug in for soda/beer on the porch for parties.

The weirdest thing was they found three swords, of the sorta-sharp-blade/pommel/leather scabbard variety. Two long swords (which are HEAVY!) and a “bedazzled” what Josh calls a “hobbit sword”. Too big for a dagger and too short for a sword… Long knife? It’s pretty, all brass-bound w/fake jewels. A lady’s blade. So now I feel like a REAL fantasy writer – with props. Be cool to wear with a costume at a Ren-Faire…or RT…

The kids got the “Remember the don’t-play-with-knives talk? Well, these are big knives. Don’t touch.” speech. The blades are in my closet (drier than the garage – rust won’t do these things any favors) until I figure out what to do with them. Thinking of hanging them on the wall. If I could find a really cool tapestry, maybe do a display…

Hmm…wheels turning…

 

 

Posted by: reneewildes1 | July 22, 2012

Review: A Life Worth Living

A Life Worth Living
A Life Worth Living by Lorrie Kruse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Life’s detours can sometimes lead to the best path…”

Matthew Huntz wakes up in a hospital room, paralyzed after an auto accident he can’t remember. Despite what the doctors predict, he’s determined to walk again. He’s soon to be married to Crystal and has a major construction project he has to finish. His family is sympathetic and supportive—more so than his fiancée. He wonders if he and Crystal will survive the crisis.

“A surefire way to jinx your future…”

Physical therapist Abby Fischner doesn’t believe in miracles, or someday. She believes in making the most/best of what you have, right now. Her job is to help Matthew adjust to what he has, learning to work with his wheelchair and adapt to his new life. It’s bad policy to get too close to a patient, and Matthew’s blind stubbornness makes her want to scream with frustration, sometimes. But they become friends anyway.

Don’t let the pretty cover fool you. This is NOT a romance in the true sense of the word. This is one man’s journey and struggle to accept a life-changing event that affects everyone around him. It’s about accepting new dreams when the old ones come crashing down around you. This is a dark, gritty book with moments of profound humanity. There are scenes that made me uncomfortable, a bit too much realism with things like bodily functions. Matthew had extreme moments of darkness and self-pity that made him lash out at people that made you not like him very much—but made him all that more human. You KNOW the author’s done her job when you want to reach onto a story and shake some sense into a character!

I definitely identified with Abby!

Author Lorrie Kruse really went above and beyond in her research to portray Matthew’s new life and challenges. Very well done, very real. The downsides are some “eew” scenes I would have preferred to skim, and some slow pacing. The characters are exceptionally well done, though. Even though you want to shake Matthew sometimes, you find yourself rooting for him and really want him to be happy. To find A LIFE WORTH LIVING.

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Posted by: reneewildes1 | July 22, 2012

Jobs…Kids…Chows…LIFE!

Ever notice that summer break is WAY TOO LONG? Seriously, after about TWO WEEKS you start to hear, “I’m boooored, there’s nuthin’ to dooooo…” Geeze Louise. Go to the library. Go to the mall. Ride your bike. Play frisbee. Go to the pool. I swear they fight for entertainment. Part of the problem is we don’t have air conditioning. We have ceiling fans. It gets hotter than hell upstairs, so the kids pretty much commandeer the living room couches at night in the summer. Drives me bonkers because my living room looks like a dorm room and then I get crabby… Seriously, I really want to tell them: Clean up this mess. Do your laundry. Clean the cat box. Walk the dog.

The dog HATES the heat. We have Abby, a black Chow. Even with the PetsMart defurminating tx, she gets HOT. She sprawls under the dining room table on the hardwood floor, panting. We put ice cubes in her water bowl. We walk her at night, which is always an adventure, because only thing worse than a Chowminator in broad daylight is a Chowminator in the dark when you can’t see what she’s growling at. It’s nerve-wracking, because you know she doesn’t like other dogs and is iffy with strange men, and honestly I don’t much like strange men approaching ME after dark, either…

It’s been a stressful summer this year for a different reason. Triwest lost the gov’t contract for military healthcare to UHC. Since Wausau WPS office in their infinite wisdom ONLY did claims processing for Triwest, we’re screwed. They’re NOT moving work up from Madison. 350 people are out on the street 4/1/13. They SAY they’ll keep us on through the transition, which could be next July through Sept. But NO WAY. People are already looking for work and bailing. If enough people quit that the rest can’t keep up to standard, they’ll close EARLY. Economy’s tight. There are few jobs in Wausau, mostly part-time – and now we have hundreds MORE people competing for work. It’s gonna get ugly, people…

There IS some good news on the horizon. One more car payment and we’re DONE. (And we’re NOT buying another one, either. We’ll keep this one running.) Kids are old enough to understand realities, and they’ve been awesome about picking and choosing activities. We’ve got free school supplies & free lunches through school district, Music Conservatory scholarships. We’ve got time to get all routine medical stuff taken care of before we run out of health insurance. The winter hay bill will be out of the way so the horses will be okay until spring.

Been thinking about a career change. Love writing, but can’t do that fulltime and feed my kids. Love books and critters. Reapplied BACK at B&N. Looking at maybe training/grooming at PetsMart of Petco – they train you to do it, and you work on commission, which can be a good living if you’re not lazy. I know we take Abby in for grooming on a regular basis, since Chows mat something awful if you DON’T manage their woolly coats!

Everything happens for a reason. I think it’s good not to get too complacent, to be able to roll with the punches. To keep prioritising, to learn the difference between need and want. Challenges make you stronger, and a better role model for your kids. Not a bad thing for them to learn “YOU make it happen–YOU control your own fate.” Not that things DON’T HAPPEN TO YOU, but that you can control the outcome by how you react and the choices you make today.

Posted by: reneewildes1 | July 17, 2012

Skinwalking: Worldbuilding Beyond The World by Renee Wildes

Skinwalking: Worldbuilding Beyond The World by Renee Wildes.

Posted by: reneewildes1 | June 16, 2012

Review: Single White Vampire

Single White Vampire
Single White Vampire by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A bestselling author of paranormal romances who’s a reclusive male vampire? A driven female editor who’s about to be unemployed if she doesn’t get Mr. Reclusive on some kind of in-person promotional gig. Lucern can’t believe when his family – mostly his MOTHER – takes Kate’s side. In desperation, he agrees to something called RT. He looked it up. Romantic Times. One interview with a magazine, and everyone goes away happy. Especially him. Kate goes away happy and still gainfully employed, and he can return to his quiet life.

Except RT stands for the weeklong CONVENTION – surrounded by thousands of inebriated Meals-on-Wheels.
And so the mayhem begins…

This was a comic romp of Cary Grant proportions. Everything that COULD go wrong, does. As a writer who’s never been to RT, I had to read this book. It was fun, fluffy, and I laughed out loud. The author did such a great job that even the absurd had a certain twisted logic that you bought into wholeheartedly just to see what would happen. Tons of fun!

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Posted by: reneewildes1 | June 16, 2012

Review: Love Bites

Love Bites
Love Bites by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Okay, I’ve watched Forever Knight, Buffy and True Blood. This story runs a familiar gambit – heroine Rachel Garrett is a coroner on the night shift in the city morgue, praying for a promotion onto the day shift. But when she steps between a crazy vampire hunter with an ax and his intended victim, she seals her own fate. She’ll never return to daylight again.

Vampire Etienne Argeneau can only turn one person in his lifetime. Usually a vampire uses that law to turn a lifemate. He doesn’t know if Rachel is, but she saved his life. Least he can do is return the favor. If she’s not his lifemate, then he’s doomed to walk alone forever. There is NO do-over.

Rachel awakens to a new life, a new man with a bunch of some-nice-and-some-crazy relatives and a still-on-the-loose insane vampire hunter named…pudge. The most sqeamish coroner in the history of the profession has to exist on blood. And then there’s Etienne himself. Mr. Irrisistible. Except when she wants to stake him herself.

This was a fun, light read with great characters and a predictable storyline. The characters keep you reading. Not used to “light” vampire stories. THAT was a refreshing change.

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Posted by: reneewildes1 | June 16, 2012

Review: Even Vampires Get the Blues

Even Vampires Get the Blues
Even Vampires Get the Blues by Katie MacAlister
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hero Paen Scott is a soulless vampire in a real bind – he has five days to return a missing statue to its demonic owner or his mother’s immortal soul is forfeit for eternity. In desperation, he engages the investigative services of Eye Scry, run by a rather flighty faerie named Clare and an alluring half-elf named Samantha.

Samantha is a failed Diviner, who got kicked out of the formal Order after a moonlight scrying session goes horribly wrong. But she still has a talent for finding lost items, and so before the ink’s even dry on the sign out front, she finds herself with her first client. A really hot Dark One who makes it all but impossible to keep their relationship professional.

This was a fun, funny book with more twists and turns than a crazy straw. I liked the characters, even if Clare’s “If I only had a brain” moments (like crying over a ruined gown) drove me nuts. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on who – and WHAT – everyone is, Katie MacAlister throws you a curve. Keeps you guessing until the end. Enjoyed it very much!

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Posted by: reneewildes1 | June 16, 2012

Review: After Midnight

After Midnight
After Midnight by Teresa Medeiros
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Won a vampire basket at the WisRWA Conference, with an ARC of this title. With a blurb that starts out with the declaration: “Our sister is marrying a vampire.” who wouldn’t give that a go?

Caroline Cabot reminds me a lot of Eleanor in Sense & Sensibility – very practical and more mother than sister to the two younger – the beautiful bride-to-be Vivienne (Marianne) and the flighty, fanciful Portia (Margaret). She decides to see for herself if her sister’s merely marrying well or if her immortal soul is in dire peril. Viscount Adrian Kane keeps after-dark hours, is unbelievably handsome – and there’s nary a mirror in sight. And then there’s the dark broody poet Julian, who turns out to be Adrian’s younger brother.

Austen meets Whitney. I really couldn’t keep from comparing this to Sense & Sensibility, with a vampire twist. With all the self-sacrifice and nobility, gothic castles and brooding heroes. This is a predictible, but entertaining read.

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Posted by: reneewildes1 | June 16, 2012

Review: Devil’s Bargain

Devil's Bargain
Devil’s Bargain by Jade Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jade Lee was one of the speaker’s at this year’s WisRWA Conference in Wausau, WI where I live. Very dynamic speaker, very fun & funny person with a real talent for getting to a HEART of a story. She autographed the two titles of hers I own – this is one of them. Getting to meet & know an author (even a little) definitely makes a book more personal.

Lynette was an innocent parson’s daughter when her father died and left her penniless. Faced with never being able to marry, to always be a burden on charitable relatives, she makes a pact with a Baroness Huntley to be trained as the perfect wife and sold on the open marriage market. Her teacher is the jaded Viscount Marlock. She’s shocked to discover that most of what he’s to teach her would better suit a courtesan or mistress than a wife. And she’s horrified to discover that “Marlock Girls” are purchased by depraved old men with…unconventional…appetites. Marlock eases her mind with pictures of herself as a rich, free widow at the end of the road.

This was definitely a unique read. Some parts were very disturbing. Viscount Marlock is the darkest, most tortured hero I’ve met in a long time, but I couldn’t stop reading. There is a lot of angst, and doubt, and you definitely see both sides of the coin – blessing and curse. But the HEA is believable after a swift wrap-up.

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Posted by: reneewildes1 | June 14, 2012

WisRWA Conference 2012 – ROMANCING THE NORTHWOODS

Yay – first time EVER I didn’t have to get a hotel room for writer’s conference! Since it was right in my town this year – Rothschild/Wausau, WI. At the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites in Cedar Creek. Had amazing weather, which was kinda wasted b/c no one ever gets outside. People were telling me the rooms came w/hot tubs, so no one REALLY ever went outside! (Kinda wish I’d GOTTEN a room, LOL!)

Got off work early on Friday to make registration. Got to meet fellow author & Facebook friend Steven Mitchell in person finally. NICE guy. Reconnected w/old friends Mary Hughes, Joe Fraser and Helen Johannes. Friday night had a bumpy start b/c the editors and agents flying in encountered bad weather in Detroit and Chicago (bad enough to close down those airports) so the Agent/Editor Q&A Panel had to be cancelled. But everyone settled in for desserts/drinks and socializing. Nice, because with the different groups scattered throughout the state, a lot of us only SEE each other once a year. We’ve got mini-groups from Wausau, Madison, Chippewa Falls, Green Bay and Milwaukee. Facebook & Twitter are great, but NOT the same as being able to laugh & gab in person. Lots of screeching & hugs all around. Stayed up way to late talking to Stacey Joy Netzel & Donna Marie Rogers from Green Bay and Jamie Kersten from Wausau.

Saturday morning was breakfast at 7 AM – also YOGA at 7 AM. Again a chance to chat with new people. Always fun to park yourself in a chair where you DON’T know people – way to meet new friends.  First official class of the day was discussing myRWA stuff – the local chapters are getting their own pages on the RWA site, so it was a how-to-make-the-transition. Kristin Bayer made it look SO easy, even to us technology-challenged writers. Then Elizabeth Hoyt did a session on “Stalking the Wild Agent” which was enlightening AND funny. I’m not really in a place to need an agent, but was good info for future.

The editors and agent made it in Saturday morning (YAY!) so were able to make the re-scheduled pitching sessions. We did our traditional WisRWA’s Got Talent where an agent and editor sit down to hear various miscellaneous (& anonymous) first pages, read by WisRWA President Anne Parent – who has a really nice reading voice, all Southern warmth. Steven Mitchell missed the reading of his b/c he was pitching. First time ever I didn’t have anything to pitch so I just got to hang out and have fun.

Lunch was when the awards ceremony takes place. I sat with Lyn Cote, Helen Johannes, Steven Mitchell, Joe Fraser and Anne Parent. My friends Stacey Joy Netzel and Mary Hughes each won a Write Touch Readers Award. LOTS of First Sales, new PRO and PAN members. Found out from Mary Hughes (PAN Liaison officer) that RWA now accepts/counts ebook royalties so I qualify for PAN w/Duality (& probably Hedda’s Sword). I emailed Samhain to send me the necessary proof. Helen, Joe and Steve were really pushing for me to come back to RWA, and with the new regs, I can do that. Can’t wait.

Afternoon sessions was Jade Lee speaking on The Core of Romance (with some…interesting…visual aids in the form of stuffed animals) and Elizabeth Hoyt speaking on Dialogue: Writing Between The Lines. Both VERY nice, approachable ladies and entertaining, dynamic speakers. I got both my Jade Lee books signed. :)  Found out I won the Vampire basket, with Season 2 of Forever Knight and books by Linsay Sands, Kinley MacGregor and Teresa Medieros. I DIDN’T win the Kelly Moran critique in the silent auction (for literacy) – got caught up in the seminars & kinda forgot to go back and re-bid. Oops, my bad, my loss.

Went out to dinner with Mary & Greg Hughes. Took them to 2510 to celebrate Mary’s win w/champagne. I always go there to celebrate my own writer things (new contracts, new covers, new releases, awards) so the waitress was like, “What news now?” When she found out Mary was celebrating an award – we got the celebration cake free. We were all so full from big breakfast & big lunch we ALL needed to-go boxes. (Mine lasted all of 10 minutes when I got home b/c my daughter heard “2510″ and STOLE my breadstick and pasta (veggie alfredo) for a late night snack.*sigh*) After dinner Greg and Mary retired but I went to the hospitality suite for a bit. There was MORE food… Chatted w/Helen, Jamie, Stacey and Donna but it was really packed and I got clausterphobic and decided to call it an early night. Got home to be met by Pirate-Wench-Tami-The-Pasta-Thief, checked my emails and CRASHED in bed.

Sunday morning, after another big breakfast where I got to sit with Melange Books, LLC publisher Nancy Schumacher, Jade Lee did a presentation on The Business Side: From Pre-Pubbed to the NYT List. Lyn Cote followed that with Self-Publishing: Is It The Right Fit For You? Almost ALL my friends at WisRWA Conference had at least one book self-pubbed (Stacey and Donna are doing it exclusively these days). Jade Lee interjected w/a comment about Nina Paules (ebookprep.com) and Kim Killion being good contacts for anyone wanting to go that route. Elizabeth Hoyt closed the Conference with We Don’t Need No Stinking Muse (which is to translate as, how to write anyway when life gets in the way and you really don’t FEEL like it!)

So I walked away with sensory overload, too much food, lots of warm fuzzies from my friends, and a lot of new books. I’m rejoining RWA and going to go for PAN. Nice way to recharge the batteries. Looking forward to Wausau WisRWA meeting next month at the library. With two new book contracts, will have someting to share and celebrate with friends!

Posted by: reneewildes1 | June 7, 2012

Review: Trust No One

Trust No One
Trust No One by Laurel Bradley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

IT’S ALL ABOUT SECRETS… and lies…

Heroine Taylor Wilson can’t figure out why someone would want to kill her. She’s just a landscape designer. Her husband Phil is a sculptor. But someone blew up their home and her office. Now she’s on the run and Phil’s missing.

The FBI sends someone to protect her. Agent Mark Cochran has lots of questions—mainly why their security is anything but secure. The FBI has a leak. Taylor knows more than she says. Phil’s not nearly as innocent as he seems.

Phil told Taylor not to trust anyone. And so she runs—away from Cochran, away from everyone. But it’s hard to stay one step ahead of the bad guys, ahead of the good guys, when you don’t know which is which. Whom to believe? Whom to trust?

TRUST NO ONE.

This is a twisting-turning edge-of-your-seat thrill ride, where every secret revealed just adds to more doubt, more lies. Author Laurel Bradley has penned a complex tale peopled by three-dimensional characters and layers of complications and subtext. Every little thing has a point and purpose—there’s no filler here. Even the tiniest clue and details fulfills a purpose by the end.

As with most thrillers, there are multiple points of views. Some scenes are really short, and the switches can be a bit abrupt. Some bad guys are known from the start. Some good guys are questioned from the start. The identity of “the shooter” remains a mystery for a good long while, but the clues are there and it’s a logical build-up and reveal. Ms. Bradley did some nice research into profiling there.

I really found a heroine to root for in Taylor. I like that Taylor finds herself questioning Phil, trying so hard to believe him innocent when all the evidence points otherwise. Makes her very human and likeable. I liked Mark Cochran. Wish he could have his OWN tale someday. (Ahem, Ms. Bradley…?) Laurel Bradley is an RWA member and accomplished romance writer, so a HEA is assured for Taylor—after a stellar bumpy ride.

Definitely a book to read and an author to watch!

View all my reviews

Posted by: reneewildes1 | June 7, 2012

I shaved my legs for THIS?

I shaved my legs for THIS?.

Posted by: reneewildes1 | April 22, 2012

Midwest Horse Fair 2012 – Madison WI

Woke up at 3 AM yesterday to go down to Madison for the Midwest Horse Fair with my daughter Tami. We went with my trainer Lori, her friend Joyce (Joyce drove), Joyce’s granddaughter Olivia who’s one year younger than Tami, and Melissa, one of Lori’s other boarders. Got down to the Coliseum before 7—no traffic. (Gee, I wonder why?)

Saw my first Friesian in the flesh. MUCH bigger in person than I thought. One Friesian stood a good 18 hands—his ears stuck up over the top of the stall door!  Poor guy looked smooshed in there. Hope they took him out on a regular basis! The Friesians were just awe-inspiring—now I know why they have them in all the movies! (Eragon & Ladyhawke come to mind here.) The Moresians (Morgan-Friesian cross) were just as impressive—just as big and black, only slightly less hairy on the legs.

 

They were doing finishing work on project mustangs for auction. There were signs on a lot of the mustangs’ stalls from their 4-H kids begging the public to NOT bid on so-and-so b/c they got attached and wanted to take their horses back home permanently. Hope people honored their wishes—that would be heartbreaking to lose your horse like that at the end of all things.

We saw demonstrations by the Canadian Knights of Valor jousting group (saw Shane Adams, Tim Tobey, Paladin and Crispin)—I didn’t know Paladin and Crispin were both rescue horses saved from slaughter. Very cool story there.  They’re all part of the History Channel show “Full Metal Jousting.”

 

 

 

We also saw a border collie herding calves, a mini cart drill team, and a trick-riding troupe.

The Gypsy Vanners are gorgeous paint draft horses. They come in two sizes—the big Vanners and a smaller Cob version. Both pretty. The Gypsy Vanner demonstration almost had a major wreck in the Nutrena arena. One of the Cobs tossed his rider and crashed into the fence, his saddle slipped under his belly and then he really freaked. Started pinballing off all the other horses. One of the other big Vanners reared almost vertical—how his rider stayed on I have NO idea. But they caught the loose horse and got him out of there and everyone else continued on. Scary moments, tough.

 

I found a “husband” for my Morab Sassy (AKA Temptation Fyre N Ice). His name’s Tuxedo Thyme and he’s a black Arabian stallion. Bred back to *Bask on his sire line and back to *Aladdinn, Khemosabi, and *Ansata Ibn Halima on his dam side. He’s also level-four in dressage, very athletic. But he has a kind eye, a sweet disposition and is the kind of kid-proof I’ve only ever seen in one other Arabian stallion—El Padrino.  (I’ve heard tales that Khemosabi also falls into that category.) Some links to Tuxedo Thyme are:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=fD3X1VcPbHU

http://www.absolutelyarabians.com

We tailgated for lunch & supper b/c show prices for food & drink were ridiculous. ($3.50 for a bottle of WATER?) Left after the liberty demonstration—Tuxedo Thyme opened the show and ROCKED the house! Got home after ten, am very sore today but it was WORTH it. We’re going back next year!

Posted by: reneewildes1 | April 12, 2012

Reality In Fiction

No one likes a perfect character. That too-true-to-be-believed character no one can relate to. Same thing goes with the plot and story. The world-building exists to enhance a reader’s escape, and one wrong move can shake that suspended-disbelief and bring it all crashing down…

I own a black Chow bitch named Abby. She’s three years old, and a cute little knee-high puffball with sparkling eyes and a pompon tail and a sense of mischief a mile wide. She’s also a ferocious guard dog who objects to everyone who walks past our house and strenuously strives to eat any dog within sight. Her recall is nonexistent. She broke her collar once and it was “missile away” and she darn near killed the neighbor’s dog. The reality is, our beloved family pet doesn’t have an off-switch. 2000 years of “guard” flows in her veins, and she’d lay down her life for any of us without hesitation. But her instinct is pure “us” vs. “them.” It’s up to US to provide the judgment–and control to keep her from hurting anyone.

What the hell does that have to do with writing?

Owning a dog like that is acknowledging, embracing and ACCEPTING RESPONSIBILITY FOR both sides of the coin. Yin and Yang. Light and Dark. And the fictitious worlds we build with the craft of words runs with the same rules and limitations. Every hero needs a dark side. Every villain needs a virtue. Every power needs a weakness. In order to for a fictitious world to seem real, there have to be rules and limitations that MUST be followed. Even Superman had Kryptonite…

When I first started the Guardians of Light series, I had one book. Duality. It set the bar for all the others. It set the parameters for all the others that they HAD to follow.  Dara was a half-dragon fire mage. Dragons are the ultimate shapeshifters. Dara was half-human–couldn’t shift. Dragons are “allergic” to iron; it locks away their powers. When she’s poisoned by a demon’s iron chains, her powers are gone. She goes to the elves for help. But she needs a metal mage and they don’t have any. Metal mages are common in the dwarven kingdom, but the elves and dwarves aren’t exactly on speaking terms… Power has checks and balances. Fire vs water. Earth vs air. Elves have powers of self-healing, which uses up all their energy and reserves. Magical hazel sprites are great healers, but they’re bound to–and die with–their trees…

Every little thing has to have a plus and a minus. And you have to be consistent. The second you break your own rules, the reader loses that suspended-disbelief and snaps out of the story. And in a series it’s twice as critical. You have to keep notes. You have to keep the rules the same in Book Five as they were in Book One. People laugh at me when they see me reading my own books–some probably assume I’m being pretentious. But the truth is, my memory is TERRIBLE (just ask my kids). My “author copies” are full of highlighting and notes–like how dragon lines are matriarchal and the females possess more power than the males, or how only a family member can bind someone in service to the sea-goddess, Cilaniestra… (These came up in Book Three, Lycan Tides, and are now coming full circle back around into what will hopefully be Book Six, God of Fyre Mountain.)

I’m constantly double-checking things like speech patterns and characters’ preferred mannerisms and exclamations… Characters can grow and evolve but they can’t change. Countries need to stay in the same place. (Shamar will always be NORTH of Arcadia.)  Even terminology needs a sense of reality–”Shamaru” means “native people of Shamar” while “Shamari” means “NOT of Shamar” or “foreigner.” One simple letter change can make a big difference. (My son’s studying French–he’ll vouch for the importance of nuance and subtlety!)

Bottom line is, there has to be REALITY IN FICTION. Only way for a reader to truly believe in the journey.

Posted by: reneewildes1 | April 9, 2012

BULLYING Is A Mean Word…

What gives anyone the idea that “might makes right”? There’s the old adage the “sticks and stones can break my bones but names will never hurt me.” Well, that’s a lie. Name-calling can hurt, and can instigate stronger reactions, leading to unfortunate consequences…

Thursday I went flying out of work early and over to the middle school, after receiving a call from the guidance counselor that my 14-year-old, 8th-grade son was “involved in an incident.” Translation–he and another 8th-grader got into a namecalling, shoving match and the other kid (twice Josh’s size) picked him up and tossed him down the stairs. Hard tile stairs. Took him to the walk-in clinic for bruised hip and ginormous abrasion on his R forearm. He was so stiff he slept on the couch b/c he couldn’t climb the stairs to his room.

He and this other boy have a history. Josh got tired of being called “hippie” and getting jostled in the lunch room and playground and took to calling the other kid “large” and there are also allegations of “big fat redneck” (which he denies). The other kid shoved Josh into a pillar, Josh stumbled and reached out to catch his balance, the other boy though Josh was trying to shove him down the steps and turned on him, picked him up and threw him–down the steps. Name calling can hurt, and hurt feelings lead to anger which lead to regrettable action with injuries.

I’m angry my son was a victim of another’s actions. I’m upset he didn’t tell anyone what was going on, taking matters into his own hands  until a Series of Unfortunate Events led to an explosion of bad judgment and flaring tempers, with someone getting hurt and someone getting suspended. Bullying is never okay. Namecalling hurts (Josh got lunch detention for his actions, which without a doubt incited the other kid’s snapping) and all anger and resentment do is fester and lead to more anger and resentment which leads to…

Well, we’ve all seen the news stories.

If someone pisses you off, STOP. Count to three. Then ten. Then a hundred if you have to. What’s the first retort that comes to mind? Swallow it. Say the SECOND thing that comes to mind. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Would you like someone to say to you what you’re about to say to them? No? Then, DON’T SAY IT. Someone maliciously making your life a living hell? Then SPEAK UP. People are here to help, but we can’t fix something if we don’t know it’s broke. You are NOT powerless. You have recourse, and advocates.

Josh learned a hard lesson. I hope the other kid did, too. I hope this is the last time the school has to call someone about a kid in the nurse’s office, but I doubt it…

 

Posted by: reneewildes1 | April 7, 2012

Originally posted on Reneewildes1's Weblog:

worlds-of-wonderI’ve been a huge fantasy fan & voracious reader my entire life. I was a Tolkien fan WAY before Peter Jackson jumped in. If Joseph Campbell had had disciples, I would have been one. Fantasy is mytholgy and mythology is people. Mythology is truth.  The basis of all classic fantasy for me is good triumphing over evil and an ordinary someone accomplishing something extraordinary.

Doom and gloom are all around us. The war, the economy, political dissention, religious dissention. Seems you can’t turn around without someone telling you how horrifically tragic everything is. Some people are saying book sales are down – people won’t buy books when they can’t afford essentials. But they’re wrong. Readers will read regardless. Readers will read MORE to escape their own reality.

Why not with a fantasy book where an honest man can bring down a tyrant, an evil dragon can be turned to good…

View original 246 more words

Posted by: reneewildes1 | April 6, 2012

Welcome Nikki Duncan – And WALK ON THE WILD SIDE!

I’d like to welcome fellow Samhain author Nikki Duncan to my blog site today. We’re very excited about her new release, Illicit Intuitions. Please say hi to Nikki, and thanks for stopping by!

Walk on the Wild Side

Given that I’m guest blogging for Renee Wildes it seemed natural that I blog about something wild. So how about we talk about our wild sides and how we choose to embrace them?

Growing up, I was anything but wild. Why would I want to be wild when the two times I tried to be I got in such horrible trouble that I still feel the sting of the punishment? I never got drunk or did drugs. No, my two times were much more… I’m not sure what the right word is, but they were different.

See, there was this boy. Yes, of course that would be the cause. First was when I snuck out with a leather skirt I had been forbidden to wear under a longer skirt. Yep, Mom found me out. I still say it was a lovely skirt. ;) Then there was the time (same boy) that I jumped out my bedroom window to go for a ride in his car. It sounded so exciting at the time, but it really was just a ride in a car. Neither the adventure nor the boy was worth the trouble I got into for that one.

I just wasn’t good at being naughty back then. Guess I hadn’t found my…rhythm.

When I discovered writing a whole new world opened up for me. I suddenly had friends who understood the quirks of my brain and who respected that there were healthy ways to indulge our wild sides.

My friend Shayla Black showed me that it is perfectly okay to drink and party with friends, though I can still say that I have never been drunk or had a hangover.

My friend Jules Bennett encouraged me to indulge my wild side on a more regular basis in the way of shoes. High heels, open toes, strappy heels, sparkly, suede, leather and bling. They all have their place in a wild girl’s closet and even with a sedate outfit they lend a certain feeling of being sexy. With that feeling comes a confidence we can only find when we embrace our wild side. For me that is a confidence that gives me the strength to walk into a crowded room or talk in front of a group when I would be much more comfortable in my office in yoga pants.

It’s that kind of inner confidence I think my characters in <a href=“http://nikkiduncan.com/bookshelf/bookshelf/illicit-intuitions-sensory-ops-book-three/”target=“_blank”> ILLICIT INTUITIONS</a> possess. Ava certainly had to have an inner strength and a strong wild side to post as a call girl on a past mission. And who could be better than a woman in touch with her wild side to teach a fairly sheltered empath–who’s lived most of his life in captivity–how to embrace his?

<strong>Tell me about your wild side. Have you found it? How do you indulge it?

Commenters will be entered into a drawing for an ARC of <a href=“http://nikkiduncan.com/bookshelf/bookshelf/illicit-intuitions-sensory-ops-book-three/”target=“_blank”> ILLICIT INTUITIONS</a>, set to release next Tuesday.</strong> I will come back here Saturday to announce the winner.

Love could be their greatest liability.

Ava Malia knows three things. She was once a kickass covert operative. She will eventually adjust to her new team, the FBI Specialized Crimes Unit. And the only way to finally be free of her professional past is to solve her first case and get her hands on a game-changing technology. The only problem? Success rides on her ability to swallow her distaste for the persona she must adopt in order to earn the trust of a mysterious scientist.

Dr. H escaped childhood captivity with three things. His sister. Complete control of his gift. And an engulfing distrust of anyone in the government. Adjusting to a life of freedom hasn’t been easy, but he’s found peace in solitude. The sexy woman auditing his empathic studies, though, has a way of getting under his skin that’s both arousing and disturbing. Plus, his psychic ability warns him of secrets so deeply buried in her psyche, they’d be better left alone.

Yet their instant attraction strips away all their protective barriers, down to the foundation of a new, fragile trust. And a vulnerability that, when an old enemy opens fire, could blast away any chance of a future.

 

Read an excerpt of <a href=“http://nikkiduncan.com/bookshelf/bookshelf/illicit-intuitions-sensory-ops-book-three/”target=“_blank”> ILLICIT INTUITIONS</a> now!

 

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