Thursday, July 31, 2008

RWA Nationals Update

Hi, everyone, Jami Davenport from the Romance Writers of America's National Conference in San Francisco, California. I'm rooming with fellow Siren authors, Wendi Darlin and Allie K. Adams. We all arrived within an hour of each other on Tuesday afternoon only to find that our suite was "downgraded" to a small room with two small beds. Well, needless to say, there was no other room at the inn, so we're making do quite nicely actually.

Allie took us on a whirlwind tour of SF yesterday, complete with a packed trolley ride, in which Wendi and I were hanging on for dear life; and a rollercoaster ride by an accommodating taxi driver down SF's steepest hills. I think we left our stomachs somewhere on the 2nd block down the hill.

Wednesday night, we attended the literacy booksigning. I'd promised Nora autographs for some friends so I stood in Nora's line for 45 minutes just to get them. I'm happy to report that fellow Siren author, Lara Santiago, sold out of all her books at her first RWA booksigning. Later, we met Lara, Morgan Ashbury, and Morgan's husband for a lovely dinner in the hotel.

Then this morning I drug myself out of bed and went to a breakfast hosted by Debbie Macomber, who is the founder of my local RWA chapter. Debbie was hosting several Aussies and New Zealanders who were a hoot. After that, we met Lara and Morgan at the luncheon.

Are you getting the theme of this so far? We're eating our way through San Francisco!

Victoria Alexander gave an entertaining talk at the luncheon on nuggets of wisdom. One of which was: If literary fiction is like wine then popular fiction is like water--and everybody drinks water.
This afternoon we'll attend workshops and parties this evening. Needless to say, we're have a wonderful time connecting with old friends and making new ones.

Ooh La La CONTEST clebrating the release day of SWEET HELL!

Release Day!

With a body meant for love, she finds herself in the midst of three lusty men. For her it could be heaven, or—sweet hell!

ISBN: 1-60601-090-5
E-book $5.99
15% off at checkout!

To celebrate I'm having a CONTEST.
It will begin today, on
July 31,
and end on
August 31st.
I'm offering a prize from Victoria's Secret.

Sexy Little Things®
Ooh La La Eau de Parfum

Throw a wink, blow a kiss, be the coquette you are. A flirtatious blend of mandarin, cherry blossom and vanilla reveals a vivacious scent that leaves admirers saying, "ooh la la!"

To win this exquisite gift, all you have to do is tell me the name of the exotic little shop that Pari went into to confront a woman regarding Kitt.

Clue #1: The woman's name was Corinne Pentrose, and she was a red-headed psychic.

Clue #2: You can find it in Chapter 16

Okay, no more clues. When you learn the answer send it to me at along with the date since there will be multiple entries. Once the contest is over, I will declare a winner, so don't forget to include your name and address so I will know where to send your gift.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

ParanormalRomance reviewer says:

Kim posted this remark on Goodreads:
I don't normally enjoy reading ebooks---mostly because I don't have a reader and I can't cuddle up with my laptop as easily as I can with an actual book. However, Mudflat 1: Tarbaby Trouble is really good, and should be available in print in January, so I thought my friends on Goodreads ought to know about it. I reviewed the book for

Now isn't Kim kind to spread the word! I do appreciate this.

Just stopped in to say hi!

Hi, everyone,

I'm Audrey Godwin, a Siren/BookStrand author from the East Coast. I originally grew up in Dallas, Texas until my career got started and I moved to Washington DC.

I haven't done much on the blog here lately because it's one of those "new fangled" things to me, and I really don't know what to talk about. The nearest and dearest to my heart, of course, are my books. I write romantic suspense for the most part, branching off into horror, dark romance, and shapeshifters. I love writing dark, but some people tell me dark romance doesn't sell. I don't know, I'd like to think maybe I'm ahead of my time, and that I'll be one of the first to usher in a whole new way of writing.

Here's a list of my books:

Dancing with the Devil (Siren)
Sin City (BookStrand)
Sweet Hell (BookStrand)

Coming Soon

Brothers of the Night (Shapeshifter)
Sugar & Spice (Sequel to BOTN)
Lady Evil (Vampire)
Dirty Little Steam Queen (Romantic Suspense)

Works In Progress

Man About Town
Lovely Little Tramp
Mad Venus

This has really been fun. Not as scary as I thought. I've got to do some writing now, so I'll be talking to you later. Everyone take care, and look for me on the Siren/BookStrand websites.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Wednesday's Words for July 30, 2008

Isn’t it strange, sometimes, the way our minds work? As I was out driving the other day, I happened to look up to the sky. There, high above me and heading east was an airplane. It was a passenger jet, very much like the one I’ll likely be on as you are reading this essay.

Suddenly, I was a child again, lying in the lush grass of our country home, gazing up at the sky and dreaming of what ifs. The summer-warn wind wafting through the open car window became the sweet breeze that would soothe me as I dreamt of the future and all the amazing things I could do when I became a grown up.

Now, more than four decades later, I can barely recall any of those dreams; but what did come flooding back, in detail so stunning it made my insides leap, was the sense of those days and dreams, the feel of them.

No clock to watch; no chore to do; not a care if anyone saw me, or what they might think of me if they did; there was just myself, the blanket I was on, and my dreams. Thinking back, I recall that this was something I did on a regular basis, both during the day, and sometimes even at night.

Some days I’d haul my pillow outside with me. I’d be so comfortable, usually in the shade, that I would close my eyes and drift on the edge of sleep. Looking back to that long-ago me, and filtering the experience through my current mind-set, I’m astounded by how liberating those times seem to me now.

At night, I would ponder as many what ifs as there were stars in the sky. Oh, how spectacular was the view, there in my rural yard, with no ambient light at all! Some nights we were lucky enough to enjoy the rare spectacle of the aura borealis. I know these days you have to travel further north than where I live now—which is only a couple of dozen miles in distance from where I was then—but in those years the Northern Lights could occasionally be seen from Southern Ontario. Usually they were just white light, a rippling curtain to the north, but I do recall one night—I have no idea what time of year it was—when Daddy woke us all up and brought us outside so that we could see the lights in their multi-colored glory.

Of course, we can’t live forever in the carefree realm of childhood dreams. But isn’t it a shame that we have to lose every single vestige of them? You’d think we’d be able to retain, at the very least, some sense of wonder, some sense of the endless possibilities of life.

My husband and I are in a unique position. When we were raising our kids, we had very challenging times—in more ways than just financially. But as we’ve aged, life has gotten a bit easier for us. We’re not rich, not by any means, but we have learned some of the lessons life has handed us. We no longer fret about things we can’t change (overmuch). We no longer wish for things we can’t have (too often). We no longer assume the worst is going to happen (every time). We are more patient than we used to be (for the first little while, at any rate).

The best lesson we’ve learned, however, is how to be content within ourselves. We’ve learned that we can be alone, and in that aloneness—we’ll call it solitude—we can once more bring to life some of the dreams of childhood, some of the wonder of new adventures, and a taste of the endless possibilities that are out there for us, if only we look closely enough.

So when I see a far-off jet in the sky, I can imagine the exotic adventures just waiting for the people aboard it.


'Flavia's Secret' Competition!

Today is release day for my Roman historical romance, Flavia's Secret, so here, as promised, is my competition! All the prizes come from the shop at the Roman Baths in Bath itself, where the book is set, and you can see them here.

I'll allow the soap and bath salts competitions to run for three days and the pendant competition to run for a week, to give you plenty of time to join in. There will be two winners each for the soap and the crystals.

OK, here are the questions. First for the soaps and bath crystals, with the winners announced on Friday. Both questions can be answered by reading the extract from Flavia's Secret posted at Bookstrand.

For the Roman Lavender Bath Crystals:

Q. What colour is Marcus' tunic in the opening of Flavia's Secret?

For the Roman Lavender Hand Soaps:

Q. The day before she dies, Flavia's former mistress Lady Valeria goes out alone to the baths. What does Flavia believe Lady Valeria bought from a healer/apothecary there?

For the gold-plated Flavian Pendant, I've chosen a question taken from the text of Flavia's Secret, and you'll have to buy a copy to answer this because the answer is not posted anywhere else. I'll announce the winner of this lovely pendant next Tuesday.

Q. Who is the red-headed toga girl who works in the baths?

Please send your answers to me at with your email address. My husband will draw the winning entries out of a hat and I'll be in touch for your snailmail address so I can mail on your prize.

Good luck and happy reading!

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Lady Knight Has A Release Date

Yesterday I finished going through my final read through of my historical called Lady Knight. Now that all the edits are complete, I now have a set release date. Lady Knight will be released at Siren on August 7th. I can't wait for it to be released. Lady Knight is the very first book I ever wrote, so it means a lot to me to see it published. I also find it fitting that my first book will be my first release at Siren as well :). I'll post a short blurb for Lady Knight below. I also have an excerpt posted on my website on my Excerpts page.


Disguised as a boy, Ariel of Elmstead leads her father's men to fight the Norman invaders. She is taken hostage by Broc St. Ceneri, who she gives her innocence in a moment of weakness. Ariel must decide to continue with her disguise as a Saxon boy or reveal her true identity to the Norman knight who has her heart.

Marisa Chenery

Friday, July 25, 2008

Flavia competition coming up...

My novel Flavia's Secret is being released by Bookstrand on Tuesday 29th July, and to celebrate I'm holding a competition! There are several prizes: Roman Hand Soaps and Roman Lavender Bath Crystals (two of each), plus a main prize of an authentic reproduction of a gold pendant of the Flavian period. This has been moulded and reproduced in gold-plated pewter (shown in the picture). All are from the Roman Bath shop at Bath, the historic city in the south-west of England where Flavia's Secret is set in 206 AD. To see the prizes in more detail, click here.

I will be giving all these prizes away on the release day of Flavia's Secret, but to win you will have to track down the answers to some questions and to have a chance to win the pendant you will have to buy the book to find the answer. More on launch day! Here again, meanwhile, is the blurb for Flavia's Secret:
'Spirited young scribe Flavia hopes for freedom. She and her fellow slaves in Aquae Sulis (modern Bath) have served the Lady Valeria for many years, but their mistress’ death brings a threat to Flavia’s dream: her new master Marcus Brucetus, a charismatic, widowed officer toughened in the forests of Germania. Flavia finds him overwhelmingly attractive but she is aware of the danger. To save her life and those of her ‘family’ she has forged a note from her mistress. If her deception is discovered, all the slaves may die. For his part, torn between attraction and respect, Marcus will not force himself on Flavia. Flavia by now knows of his grief over the deaths of his wife Drusilla and child. But how can she match up to the serene, flame-haired Drusilla?As the wild mid-winter festival of Saturnalia approaches, many lives will be changed forever.'

Genre: Historical Romance
Length: 83,000 words
Page count: 228
Cover Art by Jinger Heaston
ISBN: 1-60601-082-4
E-book $5.99
Published on July 29th 2008 by Bookstrand

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wednesday's Words for July 23, 2008

Last week we celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary, and this week, my birthday. And next week, we’re off to San Francisco for the Romance Writers of America National Conference.

I’m really glad I bought those airline tickets in February, or else it’s likely we wouldn’t be going at all. I have a kind of draw-the-line mentality, you see. For example, last year we attended the same conference in Dallas. We went for an entire week, and did some sightseeing together before the conference got underway. But this year, we’re only going for four nights, because the hotel rooms are about a hundred dollars a night above what they were in Dallas. So I drew the line—four days, not an entire week.

I had drawn the line about going to California, too, but it would seem I’m going to cross that one. No offence to anyone who lives in that beautiful state. But since I was a little girl and learned of such things, I have been afraid of earthquakes. As a teen and young adult, whenever anyone would mention the possibility of my ever traveling to that state, I would reveal my worst fear: that if I ever did go, they would have the big one.

I know, I know. Go right ahead and tell me I’m a wuss. You won’t get any argument from me. I’m not ashamed to admit that there are things I’m afraid of.

“But Morgan,” some of you who know me quite well through these essays may say, “aren’t you the one who’s always talking about positive thinking, and ‘seeing a thing as it can be, though it is not”? Yes, this is true. That’s me all right.

This leads me to the moment I’ve dreaded these past two years. I must now disclose to you, dear readers, an important and personal detail about Mr. Ashbury.

I love the man. You all know that. We’ve been married for thirty-six years, after all. However, he has a teeny tiny little flaw.

He wants to experience an earthquake.

Yes, he does. And yes, I know how that sounds, because they are deadly acts of nature, not to be coveted at all! But there you have it.

My beloved doesn’t limit his thrill seeking desires to earthquakes, either. Oh, no. He wants to ride out a hurricane, and see a tornado up close and personal, too.

We’ve taken three cruises now, all during hurricane season. The closest we got to a hurricane (much to his eternal disappointment) was sailing behind Ophelia in 2005 from Bermuda to New York City.

On that cruise, while in Bermuda, we took an excursion – a special “cruise into the night life of the Bermuda Triangle” sort of adventure. Yes, we got on a small vessel with people we’d never met before, and sailed in the dark through part of the Bermuda Triangle. Alas, no phenomena were experienced by myself, or (more tragically, in his mind) by Mr. Ashbury. Well, unless you count the fact that my digital camera came back from that small nocturnal voyage taking photos that were only white and blue. No more color, and on our return home, the manufacturer could find no reason for its malfunction, and so we got a new camera.

How well I remember the night we sailed back to New York on the heels of Ophelia. The seas were so high, I stayed in my cabin, as I couldn’t walk the corridors of the ship. Mr. Ashbury said, “I’m going to go out on the bow observation deck. I’ll be back soon.” The bow observation deck was on deck 7, and was outside. That is comparable to the 7th floor of a building for height.

He had said that he would be back soon, but ‘soon’ is such a subjective term, isn’t it? Half an hour went by. And then another. Soon, it was nearing the two hour mark. Finally, the door burst open, and in he strode, windblown and triumphant from his adventure. It seems that in the down trough, as the ship ploughed ever forward, the waves were so high they topped where he stood.

Of course, he couldn’t understand why I was a tad upset by his tardy return. What, he demanded to know, did I think could ever have happened to him? In response, I only asked if he’d ever heard the expression, ‘man overboard’.

He has discussed this pending trip to the Golden State with his coworkers, of course. They’ve all come to the conclusion that’s he’ all there. “You mean to tell me that you’re hoping for an earthquake?” one of them asked, justifiably appalled. “No,” my beloved replied, “I’m demanding one.”

So you see, my ‘positive think it into existence’ is up against his ‘positive think it into existence’—and I’m worried.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Friday, July 18, 2008


The fortuneteller in Mudflat does a lot of her work on the run and in odd places, and may have to base it on scant bits of information. Sometimes all she knows about a client is the hour of birth. Stir in a bit of inherited magic, and this gives her a clue. Check Claire’s guess about the kind of guy you are attracted to, whether he’s good for you or otherwise.

If you’ve read TARBABY TROUBLE, you know Claire. Here are her predictions based on the hour of your birth:

Midnight to 2 AM: Smart, you really like smart. You’re attracted to intellectual men as long as they know when to stop talking. Because a man who listens carefully to what you say is incredibly sexy.

2 to 4 AM: Handsome is fun for a flirtation, but money lasts. Sure, personality and character are what count most, but what’s wrong with diamonds? Find the right guy and you could be his best friend forever.

4 to 6 AM: You go crazy for handsome, love model-perfect features, and your friends know that you’re attracted to your own physical type. Ever had anyone ask, “That man you’re with, is he your brother?”

6 to 8 AM: Mystery men win your attention, sometimes against your better judgment. What is it about the unknown? You like danger, take chances, and that’s good to know about yourself. Be careful.

8 to 10 AM: It’s the big grin, the warm hug, and the guy who calls when he says he will. You’re not attracted by moody. Or by slackers. You like a guy who knows how to work hard and then go party.

10 to Noon: How to marry a self-made millionaire is the question. It isn’t the money that attracts you, it’s the ambition. You admire a man who pursues success, wouldn’t mind working along side of him.

Noon to 2 PM: The good looks might attract you to a first date, but it’s the inner man you adore. How hot is a guy who lives his beliefs? If he strives for fidelity, loyalty and spirituality, he’s on your wavelength.

2 to 4 PM: He’s gotta be hot! Sexy! Brave! Protective! Attitude is everything, and he can come on too strong to the wrong woman. He’s pretty much a love-at-first sight guy looking for his match.

4 to 6 PM: Laid back, easy going, happy to hang out anywhere, you’re attracted to that style. You like a guy who accepts you, has the don’t-change-a-hair-for-me attitude. Toss in a great speaking voice and he’s gotcha!

6 to 8 PM: A couch potato, no matter how handsome, won’t do for you. You love a guy who loves to hang out at a health club and keep in shape. Add a great tan to his great abs, and you’re smitten.

8 to 10 PM: A true romantic catches your attention every time. You love a guy who loves to say he loves you. If he’s the flowers-and-chocolates type, always kind and thoughtful, you’ll overlook most faults.

10 to Midnight: What could be sexier than a stay-at-home, play-at-home guy? If he likes to cook, garden, and fluff your pillows, plus he can’t wait to introduce you to his family, he’s hard for you to resist.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Katana Duet, Review, Video and Links....

Click below so all the links go live (^_^)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wednesday's Words for July 16, 2008

I can remember as if it was yesterday rolling my eyes any time my father-in-law would utter the words, “back in my day”. A part of me would be thinking, “Times have changed, get over it.” And another part of me would be vowing that when I got older, such expressions would not be in my lexicon.

Ah, well. It’s amazing what interesting roads life takes us down, roads we were certain we would never travel.

Yes, times have changed. People have changed, too, I think. Is it my imagination that there seems to be a turning away from the concept of personal responsibility? Of course, hand in hand with that is a turning away from the flip side of that coin: personal accomplishment.

I had volunteered to do something for someone, and that something, as I was nearing the end of the task, suddenly turned a bit complicated and tricky and time-consuming. I muttered a comment as I worked away (Rest assured, it was a g-rated comment. I think I am finally used to having a young teen in the house). My grandson heard my muttering, understood the cause. His reaction? “You should quit. Tell them it’s too hard and just quit. I would.”

My reaction? “And be a quitter? No way!”

I thought there was something wrong with my grandson’s attitude, but as I raised my head out of my custom-designed ostrich hole, I realized that sometime in the last twenty years or so, being a quitter had lost its stigma. And it gets worse.

I’ve been paying attention to some of the younger (than me) people I’ve encountered lately. If it’s too tough, they don’t want to do it. If it’s too dirty a job, they avoid it. They have an inflated idea of their value, to the point that, if the job doesn’t pay enough, they won’t do it. “I’m worth more than that.” You think so? I’ve got news for you, cupcake. If you are not currently employed, you’re not worth nearly what you think you are. In fact, you’re not even worth the wage you’re not earning that you feel is beneath you.

I can recall my husband, during a time when he was out of work, going out in the middle of January with his shovel to clear driveways in order to put milk on the table.

The schools rarely fail a child these days. Did you know that? Everybody who tries out for the team gets on the team, and gets to have playing time. These, I am told, are so as to avoid frustrating the child or making him feel as if he is somehow inferior. Of course, this perfectly reflects what the child can expect from the world as an adult. Right?

No one believes in delayed gratification anymore, either. If they want it, they feel entitled to it, and that means right now. The first vacation my beloved and I went on was to Las Vegas. It was our honeymoon—on our seventeenth wedding anniversary. And we saved two years in order to be able to go.

People can live their lives however they choose. That’s a fact. No one has the right to tell anyone what to do or how to do it, and that’s a fact, too. And I’m not so much disgusted with this new way of living as I am saddened by it.

These people are missing out on some of the very best moments in life. They don’t know the sweet victory of struggling toward a goal, and then achieving it; the pride of doing a lot with very little and making it all come out right, somehow; of denying themselves so that someone else can have.

I’m told that life is kinder now than once it was, and that might appear to be true, on the surface.

But without that inner glow that comes with the pride of accomplishment, who’s going to want to bother to build the better mouse trap?


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dessert Box by Anika Hamilton

Carmella Simone and Sandra Tucker have been together for the past ten years. Every year for Valentine’s Day, one or the other is tasked with creating a memorable and passionate experience.

This is Sandra’s year and she has planned the ultimate Valentine’s Day treat. She has commissioned a specially designed box, locking herself inside. Now Carmella must figure out the clues that will unlock her gifts: Sandra and chocolate.

Join them on their erotic journey of a sweet treat and body heat.

To read an excerpt or get your own copy of Dessert Box, click

Happy Reading,
Anika Hamilton

Author Discovery and Review for 'The Twist' by Lee Silver

Would you take an assignment that paid 12 million dollars a week?

Zane of Tollison Consulting is deep in debt and the offer from Clearwater Tabacco seems too good to resist. At first all seems well and Zane strikes up a sparky relationship with Kathy, the clever and cute researcher at Clearwater.

Soon however there are problems. He can't contact his wife Elsie. He's having stomach cramps. He seems to have changed from being right handed to becoming left handed. And those aren't the only changes....

The science in 'The Twist' is fascinating, clearly explained and wonderfully SHOWN. There is also romance and that too is very original and intriguing. The novel has some very interesting and wry things to say about gender and gender roles, with the added spice of danger and threat to life. How will Zane and Kathy escape the traps that are inexorably enclosing them? Lee Silver keeps you guessing right till the end.
All in all, an excellent, engaging novel.


Monday, July 14, 2008

10th Annual Harlem Book Fair!

Look for me at the 10th Annual Harlem Book Fair Saturday, July 19, 2008 from 11:00am-6:00pm on West 135th Street between Fifth Avenue and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Blvd (7th Avenue), rain or shine! I will have a tent and table and will be selling several of my titles from Rapture Publishing, LLC and Siren Publishing, Inc.

For more exhibitor and program updates check website:

Competition coming soon!

Flavia's Secret is coming out from Bookstrand on July 29, and I'll be offering some prizes - gifts from Roman Bath - to lucky readers who can answer a few questions based on my book. More on the 25th, when I'll post pictures of the prizes and on launch day, when I'll post the quiz.

In the meantime, here's some lavender - used a lot in Roman baths!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

An Idiot's Guide to Book Trailers

Sigh, book trailers, an author's new night mare. You can't live with them and you can't live without them. As a video newbie, I thought I'd share some of the things I learned making my trailer for my new romantic suspense, THE TWIST.

If you are computer challenged like me,making a video is alot easier than building a website. They take a lot of time but they’re kind of fun to do. It’s sort of like making a scrapbook, except instead of choosing the mounts and page color, you pick transitions and background music.

All picture show software seems to work about the same. I downloaded several freebies off the net with some neat effect and transitions, but ended up using Microsoft Movie Maker (MM). The nice thing about MM is it has some audio editing capability. The freebies off the net either didn’t have audio, or it was awkward to add it to the video file. MM comes bundled with Microsoft XP, so you probably have it on your computer and don’t even know it.

Put all of the pictures and audio tracks you plan to use in a common file on a thumb drive before you start. MM creates its own working file but looks to the ORIGINAL location of the source files each time you open a project. If you are switching between computers, it will really cause you problems unless you keep the source files in the same location.

Back up often. I have run MM on two different desktop PC’s and two different laptops. It locks up often, usually at the worst time. Back up often. Did I say to back up often :)

Lay down your basic video track. Keep the text short and simple. It has high impact that way and keeps the viewer guessing. You should shoot for 60-90 seconds so you don’t lose your viewers attention. They tell me text should be displayed for as long as it takes for you to read it out load. Be sure to have a good ten second display of your contact information.

Now comes the fun part; adding music to your video! I strongly recommend that you use registered music. It is more professional than stealing a popular song that everyone knows you don’t have rights to. There are plenty of good inexpensive/free tracks on the net. I like Kevin MacLeod’s work. He only asks for credit and an optional $5 donation. Kevin has hundreds to choose from on his website and the music is arranged by mood with brief description, orchestration and sound bite. Here’s a link to his site:

It starts to get a bit tedious then because you need to play with the video images, effects, transitions and timing so you can synch the video with high points in the audio track. I like to use common subtle transitions at similar breaks in the video and only use shocking transitions where I want to add drama. Use a simple fade unless you have a need for a more dramatic transition. This can take a lot of time. You may need to clip the front or back of the audio to get things to synch up. It will be worth the effort when you see the final video :)

Well, that’s about everything I know. Good Luck & have fun!


Lee Silver
Romance with a Twist
THE TWIST, Now on Siren-BookStrand's Bestseller's List

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Ginger is an important ingredient in Asian cuisine due to its distinct taste and scent. The part of the ginger plant used in cooking is actually the rhizome, or underground stem, however young ginger leaves can be used the same way as sweet or hot basil in stir fried dishes. Aside from adding flavor to food, it has numerous beneficial qualities for maintaining good health.

People who live in warm climates can easily grow their own ginger and enjoy the beautiful flowers by following the directions mentioned on this page:

Purchase only firm, smooth and light colored ginger for cooking. Cut off pieces of ginger at the joints and wrap the remaining portion tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. You can also prevent oxidization by wrapping it with a dry paper towel and then placing it in a zip lock bag. If you want to store the entire unused piece, with the skin still intact, place it in a small brown paper bag and then the refrigerator.

Another clever way to store ginger is to grate the entire root into a piece of clear plastic, roll, wrap and freeze it in stick form which will allow you to break off pieces which can be melted into sauces or blend into fruit drinks. That nifty idea is from this site:

Many Asian dishes begin with a mixture of chopped garlic and crushed ginger which are both used to flavor the hot cooking oil. I recommend first placing the garlic into the oil, adding meat, soy or fish sauce, vegetables and then grating the ginger over the cooking ingredients, turn off the heat, stir and serve. By grating the ginger into the dish near the end of the cooking process you are preserving the scent and taste of the plant rather than allow it to all evaporate due to excessive exposure to heat.

In closing I'd like to include a couple simple ways to incorporate ginger into your everyday cooking.

Chili Ginger Oil
This oil can be used in stir fried seafood dishes, poured over steamed vegetables, dumplings, pasta salads or even steaks and grilled chicken.

You'll need chopped garlic, ginger, whole dried chili, vegetable oil, sesame oil, sea salt thick or plain soy sauce.

Turn on the vent over your stove and open the windows. Warm the dried chili in a pan, then add vegetable oil. Once the oil is warm (not smoking) quickly add the garlic, sea salt and grated ginger. Turn off the heat before the garlic burns and stir in the sesame oil. Lastly you can add in soy sauce or thick soy sauce which will cause the mixture to sizzle.

Gari is thinly sliced preserved ginger which is usually eaten with sushi. You can pull out some gari and blend with olive oil, toasted sesame seeds or a small amount of peanut butter and soy sauce to create an exotic salad dressing.

As in all recipes for pickling you follow the two-two-three rule. Use two cups of salt to coat thinly sliced ginger for one hour or longer. You can either wipe off or shake off the salt with the aid of a strainer and place it into a clean glass jar. Melt two cups of sugar in three cups of rice vinegar in a pot and then pour the mixture on top of the ginger. You can cool the ginger quickly by placing the glass jar in a bowl of cool water, before placing it into a refrigerator. There is no need to add any red or pink food coloring as the ginger should turn pink naturally. Old ginger will not change its color however it does not seem to affect the taste of the gari at all.

Chrysanthemum and Ginger Iced Drink

Ginger is a "hot" ingredient however you can use it to cool off this summer I recommend combining ginger with dried chrysanthemum flowers which can be purchased at any Asian grocery store. Simply grate fresh ginger into boiling water (please use bottled water). You can add either plain sugar or brown sugar or even honey. Then turn off the heat and place the flowers into the liquid. Allow it to cool in the refrigerator for a few hours. You may leave a few flowers in the drink if you are serving it in a clear glass pitcher.

Grated ginger can also add a bit of zing to iced-teas.

~Tiffany ~ Silapa Jarun
KATANA DUET: Samurai's Forbidden Love
Available at


Friday, July 11, 2008

Anne Krist's 'Burning Bridges'

I read 'Burning Bridges' by Anne Krist in one sitting. From its powerful, immediate opening I was captivated. In Sarah and Paul we meet two young people who are passionate, committed and deeply in love. Anne Krist perfectly captures that youthful love and later, the profound emotional devastation, when, as the result of Sarah's well-meaning but meddling parents, Sarah believes that Paul has died in the Vietnam war and Paul is convinced that Sarah never wrote to him. How these two come together again and finally acknowledge their undimmed feelings is wonderfully evoked in the novel and the ending is a real five-hankie moment!
All relationships within the story are handled with great understanding and compassion, especially the romance of Paula, Sarah's daughter, and her lover Dan, and the mother-daughter relationship between Sarah and Paula. Later, the 'new' father-daughter relationship between Paul and Paula is gripping in its mix of tough and tender.
There are twists and turns throughout the story and I always cared for and believed in the characters - I really wanted them to win through in the end. I don't want to say too much because I don't want to spoil the story for anyone else, but if you are looking for a poignant yet powerful love story, 'Burning Bridges' is it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Dance Release Contest--Win this Gift Bag

Check out this link or read below for how you can win a San Juan Islands gift bag. All entries must be received by Friday, June 11, at 7 am Pacific time. I'll announce the winners at 9 am tomorrow.
Stayed tuned throughout the day, as I'll give members of the Siren Readers loop extra chances to win.

Using the listed links, answer these five questions. Send your answers to jamidavenport@... before 7 am Pacific time on Friday morning.

Each correct entry will receive their name in the hat for the drawing to win this gift bag, which includes: An Orca Whale cloth tote bag, three types of soaps, Starbucks Coffee, Pike Place MarketSpice tea (for the tea lovers), Rosario mug and shot glass, chocolate spoon for stirring your coffee, a glass ornament, Orcas Island keychain, and a wooden Orca Whale bookmark.

The winner will be drawn and announced on Friday morning at 9 am Pacific time.


The hero has two names, what are they?
What is Mariah’s horse’s name and what does it mean?
What does Rico want to do to his neighbor?
What is the name of the Island that is the setting for the book?
What are the San Juan Islands known for?

Where to find the answers:

Love Interludes - July 2008 Newsletter for Siren-BookStrand

Love Interludes Newsletter
Right click to download PDF

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Wednesday's Words for July 9, 2008

Our trip to Philadelphia on Thursday and Friday of last week was all we could have hoped it would be, and more. Imagine our surprise when we saw the Seaport Museum, which had as a special attraction two actual ships in permanent dock.

The Olympia, an armored cruiser, served in eighteen-ninety two as the flag ship for Admiral Perry during the battle of Manila Bay. The other was a boat—a submarine, the Becuna, which was active during the Second World War and was only decommissioned in the 1960s. My husband went through these of course. My beloved is convinced that in a previous life he was a seafaring man – a pirate, to be exact. So any time we get near ships, he’s there. On an earlier vacation we toured Patriot’s Point in Charleston, South Carolina where, among their treasures they counted the USS Yorktown, a World War Two aircraft carrier.

Across the Delaware River from our hotel, anchored in Camden New Jersey stands the Iowa class battleship, the USS New Jersey. This ship was decommissioned in 1991, and was the most decorated vessel of its class. We both wished we’d had time to take the tour. It’s on our list for next visit.

One more ship lay in permanent anchor at Penn’s Landing, and that’s the Moshulu – a four-masted steel barque built in Scotland in 1904—one of the last steel barques to be built to the River Clyde. Today it is a restaurant with a unique atmosphere and a wonderful menu.

We also dined at the old original Book Binder’s Restaurant—an establishment that has been in operation for more than a century and is considered a Philadelphia landmark. The list of people who’ve dined there reads like a Who’s Who of Hollywood and Washington. We didn’t see anyone famous there Thursday night, but we did have a terrific dinner.

But by far the most impressive experience we had during our two days in Philadelphia was attending the Independence Day Ceremony held by the City in front of Independence Hall. How amazing, two Canadian tourists could find themselves seated just rows from the stage. We were made to feel very welcome, and even given small American flags so that we fit right in with the crowd.

There was the usual – music, speeches by the Mayor, a City Representative, and the Superintendant of the Independence National Park. Major General William Monk, III presided over a re-enlistment ceremony. But the most moving moments, I think, came when some high school students, selected as ‘best of class’ in tandem read The Declaration of Independence.

What a provocative document that was in 1776! Do you realize that? The concept of democracy was first put forth long before the United States was discovered by European explorers. Athens experimented with direct democracy it in 5th Century BC, and it was again tried in 13th century Switzerland.

But basically, the concept that “all men are created equal” was beyond cutting –edge. It was Avant Garde. To say a people had the right to end the ties of Imperialism and form their own government—this was unheard of! Everyone knew that Kings ruled by Devine right, and although the nobles in England had altered the concept of monarchy with the institution of the Magna Carta in 1215, the rule of law in 1776 in Europe was still the rule of the noble classes.

But in 1776 a group of men dared to dream of a new idea, and dared even further to see it to fruition. Your Declaration of Independence is one of the greatest documents of all time, and the creation and enacting of it among the boldest changes ever instituted by modern man.
I felt privileged indeed to be a part of paying tribute to that moment, and it was the perfect way to end our vacation.

So now I’m back home, and back at work. Oh, and you’ll all be pleased to know the people at the hotel in Philadelphia are kindly sending me, via courier, the drawer full of clothes I left behind there—at my expense, of course.


Saturday, July 5, 2008

Young Coconut

Since ancient times, entire cultures have thrived on the entire coconut tree for medicine, cooking, cosmetics and even housing. Nearly every part of the plant can be used for survival. Modern science will continue to pursue the value of coconuts but time has already proved that human ingenuity when applied to the entire plant reveals that it can help us sustain a more environmentally friendly way of life as well.

This article will explore how easy it is to open a young coconut to enjoy it as a healthy and exotic treat.

Some interesting facts about coconuts:

Due to it's same “electrolytic balance as human blood,” it was used as an IV drip during WWII when solutions were scarce.

The clear water found in young coconut is rich in minerals such as potassium and manganese.

The fats in coconut oil are similar to those found in mother's milk and according to Jon J. Kabara, Ph.D, Professor Emeritus from Michigan State University, have “similar nutriceutical effects.”

During my many trips to Thailand I always watched with both fascination and anxiety as the light green outer husk of coconut is peeled off to reveal the stringy white fibrous layer. After removing the fibers, the top of the nut was removed with a large knife which would be brought down on the “skull” of the nut expertly and accurately while it was still being held. If you ever become an expert at the more traditional method then I'm sure you can thrill your guests at a tropical theme party.

If you aren't a thrill seeker then you may prefer a more safe way of opening a coconut.

Asian and Latino/Hispanic markets usually carry nuts which are only covered with the white husk and usually plastic wrapped. Pick clean undamaged husks. Do not worry about the cleanliness of the sweet water inside the nut because the layers of outer skin provide a natural and safe barrier. In fact during times of flooding, storms, famine or war these nuts saved people's lives because they were the only source of clean water.

Remove the plastic wrap and set the nut on its side on a layer of newspapers or a cutting board and use a sharp cleaver to carefully remove the husk at the top. Remove enough of the husk to see the entire top of the brown skull. Then bring down the corner of the knife along half the perimeter of the top. Do not raise the knife very high or use too much force as it is both dangerous and unnecessary. The brown layer encasing the water and flesh is actually very thin and sometimes tapping it with the corner of the knife is adequate. Use your fingers to pry open the top of the nut carefully and you are done!

This video also explains the process:

Sources used for this article:

~Tiffany ~ Silapa Jarun
KATANA DUET: Samurai's Forbidden Love
Available at


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Fun Intro to the website and new titles

This post is a spin-off of what Lee Silver, author of THE TWIST had started here.

I want to let all your readers in on a DELICIOUS SECRET, but TARBABY,I don't want to start BURNING any BRIDGES or cause any TROUBLE.

All right, I won't hold you HOSTAGE anymore.

Siren-Bookstrand has the best reads on the web but you can only buy the
titles once you've come out of the ROUGH and are READY for more fun,LOVE, LUST and SCANDAL than you can pay for in SIN CITY, LAS VEGAS.

Come out of the internet MIST and stop by the site as soon as possible
and AT ANY COST. It is a great DESTINATION to read free excerpts, book reviews and VENTURE forth into FORBIDDEN LOVE.
THE METHOD for success used by this publisher is to simply find the best stories and make them accessible to you.

Here is the TWIST, not all of the titles are available for purchase yet.
So please BEAR with us as more sexy titles are uploaded.
We promise the experience will be the high-LIGHT O' your day!
If you want more INTIMATE CONTACT then sign up at our mailing list
where we'll be waiting to WELCOME you day or NIGHT.

~Tiffany ~ Silapa Jarun

KATANA DUET: Samurai's Forbidden Love

Available at July 16th

Wednesday's Words July 2, 2008

I’ve come to an important decision. I’m going back to making lists.

This is the second trip in a row now where I’ve gritted my teeth and not given in to the urge to be completely anal and make a thorough, detailed list. And yes, this is the second trip in a row now where I’ve forgotten to pack some of the things I fully intended to bring. The fact that I’m really not missing those items so badly is entirely beside the point. So I’ve decided to stop fighting my nature. I know that as a result, I will once again be the target of jokes and the source of hilarity amongst my loved ones. But at least they’ll be smiling.

Today is day 6 of our vacation, and we’ve been having a good time. We’re staying in a different hotel than the one we stayed in last time, and we quite like it. They provide a continental breakfast which has a varied selection, including eggs. I’m completely in favor of anything that’s ‘free’.

Our room has a king sized bed, a very nice table for me to work at, a sofa, television, and a fridge and microwave. Um, about the fridge. It appears to have only two temperatures – semi-warm, and explode-the-cans-of-pop-in-the-middle-of-the-night-cold. That’s quite a sound to awaken to, let me tell you.

Do you suppose someone told the staff we were here from “the great white North”? I only ask this question because it’s just possible that they had arctic water brought in for the pool especially for us.

I have never gotten into a pool that was so cold in all my life. I credit my daily swims back home as the reason I was able to get into it at all. Once in the water it seemed not so bad. I checked the temperature (there was a thermometer dangling into the water) and it was 66 degrees Fahrenheit – that’s about 18 degrees Celsius. I enjoyed the swim, actually, although it did take me a couple of hours to get warmed up fully once I got out of it.

We don’t let little things like exploding pop cans or icy swims bother us. We usually just laugh, because we’re in vacation mode. Do you go into vacation mode when you travel? We always have, as if the act of leaving home removes all the stress we normally live with. I think that’s the main reason my beloved enjoys travel so much. Well, one of the reasons, at any rate.

Our friend has been very patient with me, taking me to his grocery store even though he thought it a silly thing to do. His niece asked, “Why on earth do you want to go there?” My answer was simple. I’ve been a wife and mother longer than I’ve been a published author. Going to the local grocery store I can see what people here eat, what’s available here that we don’t have at home. It’s another way for me to understand the different ways people live.

Our room has a magnificent view of a valley. Being in the mountains is different than what we’re used to. We enjoyed a thunderstorm Sunday night. The sky turned an absolutely menacing black, and then a heavy rain began to fall. The lightning strikes were happening on the other side of the hotel, acting like strobe lighting on the world outside our window. This morning, I awoke to a vista of pure white. The fog was so thick, I wondered if we’d have to change our plans for the day. I can tell you, as familiar as I am with this area, I wasn’t certain I wanted to drive anywhere in that kind of weather. As I sit here watching, the fog is rolling up the mountain, wisp upon curl and I can now see the entire valley.

That’s rather like life, don’t you think? Things might look really bleak, but sometimes if you just wait for a little bit, the situation clears. Now, over by the far edge of the valley I can see a bright, glowing spot. The clouds have parted, and some people are living in sunshine.

I hope the sun is shining wherever you are, and that if it rains, you don’t let it interfere with your day.