Sunday, November 28, 2010

To Die For Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake

Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake

A number of people have been asking me for this recipe. I got it from my sister-in-law over Thanksgiving. It's awesome and easy to make.

38 NABISCO Ginger Snaps, finely crushed (about 1-1/2 cups)Note: I ran them through my blender to crush.
1/4 cup finely chopped Pecans
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
4 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs

How to make it:

HEAT oven to 325°F

MIX crumbs, nuts and butter; press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of 9-inch springform pan.

BEAT cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Add pumpkin, spice and vanilla; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour into crust.

BAKE 1 hour 20 min. to 1 hour 30 min. or until center is almost set. Loosen cake from rim of pan; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate 4 hours.


Turkey Cranberry Wreath

2 pkg. refrigerated crescent rolls
1/2 C. mayonnaise
2 T. honey Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
2 C. cooked turkey, chopped
1/2 C. celery, sliced
3 T. fresh parsley, snipped
1/2 C. dried cranberries
4 oz. Swiss cheese, shredded (1cup)
1/4 C. walnuts, chopped (optional)
1 egg, separated

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Unroll crescent dough; separate into 16 triangles. With wide ends of triangles toward the center. arrange 8 triangles in a circle on Large Round Stone or cookie sheet. Corners of wide ends will touch and points will extend 1 inch beyond of baking stone. Arrange remaining 8 triangles in center. matching ends. Seal seams. (Points will overlap in center; do not seal.)

Measure mayonnaise, mustard and black pepper into a bowl. Grate cheese into a bowl. Mix filling. Scoop filling over seams of dough, forming a circle.

Coarsely chop walnuts; sprinkle over filling. Beginning in center, lift one dough triangle across mixture. Continue alternating with outer triangle, slightly overlapping to form wreath. Tuck last end under first.

Separate egg over bowl. Beat egg white lightly; brush over dough. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Yields 10 servings.

Per serving: 363 calories; 17 g protein; 24g fat; 20g carbohydrates; 521 mg sodium


Friday, November 26, 2010



My new book SECRET SOIREE was released today November 26th at Ellora’s Cave As secrets go, they can have consequences if revealed, and this is the case with Destiny Noir when her identity and what she’s doing is revealed to the wrong person.
**RomCon has me as their guest blogger today on their FF&P blog and I'm giving away a copy of DRAGON WITCH. I'll be talking about Secret Lovers and Guilty Pleasures. Something you see in the media all the time. Stop by and help me celebrate my new release and let's talk about secret lovers.

BLURB for Secret Soiree: Performing kinky sex shows at private parties should be easy for two part-time lovers. When Darius makes an offer to help Destiny avoid financial disaster, how can she refuse? The money’s good, the sex scorching.

Amazed by how uninhibited she can be, Destiny is driven by a sensual need aroused by her audience. When clients begin requesting special services, Destiny easily complies. But can her blazing-hot romance with Darius survive the consequences?

EXCERPT: The massive cathedral ceiling room suddenly shrank down to the size of a closet. Destiny closed her legs and hunched over, trying to hide her sex and breasts. Darius tried to part her knees but she stiffened and resisted.

He moved in front of her, kissing her cheek then her ear and whispered, “Are you all right?”

“No, let’s go. I can’t do this.”

He gazed at her in disbelief, then smiled. “Okay, but you’re doing fine. We’re almost done. What’s wrong?”

She looked into his eyes and said, “I’m afraid.”

“What? Afraid of what? I won’t let anyone hurt you.”

“I know. I’m afraid things will change between us after this.”

He stroked her cheek, then reached around and unfastened the handcuffs and took them off. “We can go anytime. This won’t change what we have. We’re like two actors acting out a part in a movie for the sake of entertainment. We’re fulfilling a fantasy for some of these people, adding another aspect to their sexual love life, maybe enhancing it. I suspect most of them will leave the party early. They’ll go home horny and get laid.”

She smiled at that. “I suppose you’re right. We’re just actors who know each other well.”

“Makes it easier, doesn’t it?” He raised his eyebrows in a friendly tease. “So do we go or stay? Your call.” He swung the handcuff on his forefinger.


CONTEST--Leave a comment on any blog post through November 30 for a chance to win a FREE download of one of my eBooks. Or send me an email to with "November Contest" in subject line. Contest ends November 30. Drawing will be on December 1st.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Will a Blue Moon Make You Loony?

This Sunday November 21st there’s a Blue Moon, that’s usually the second full moon in the same calendar month, but according to a rule from the old, no longer published, Maine Farmers' Almanac, (NOT to be confused with The Farmers' Almanac of Lewiston, Maine, which is still in business) a Blue Moon can also occur when there are four moons (instead of the normal three) in one season. There were full moons on September 23, October 22, November 21, and will be one on December 21. That's four in one season. Even though December is the first day of winter, the moon actually turns full at 3:13 a.m., 15 hours and 25 minutes BEFORE winter officially arrives. That makes the third moon the Blue Moon, but I have no idea why they decided that. Why not December’s moon or October’s moon?

DOES THE FULL MOON AFFECT HUMAN BEHAVIOR? If you know someone who works in the medical field or in social services like the police department, ask them. Chances are they’ll say: YES! They’ll say the crime rate increases and hospital emergency rooms fill up on the days of a full moon. If the moon can affect the ocean tides why not influence human emotions in some way physically or psychologically? The human body is 80% water. Besides, that’s where the word lunacy came from.

Arnold Lieber, a psychologist from the University of Miami (my college BTW) did research on the crime rate in Miami-Dade and wrote a bestselling book in 1978, "Lunar Effects: Biological Tides and Human Emotions", and another in 1996 supporting the theory about the influences of the full moon on human behavior. And Ivan Kelly, a psychologist at the University of Saskatchewan, conducted her own study and her findings disagreed with Lieber’s. She felt because of the long standing myth the reports were exaggerated by those involved with the study.


The average interval between Full Moons is about 29.5 days, whilst the length of an average month is roughly 30.5 days. This makes it very unlikely that any given month will contain two Full Moons, though it does sometimes happen.

On average, there will be 41 months that have two Full Moons in every century, so you could say that once in a Blue Moon actually means once every two-and a half years.

A Blue Moon occurs approximately 7 times in 19 years.

Here’s a link to a Blue Moon calculator. If you want to find out is there was a Blue Moon the year you were born for some reason.

I used it when I wrote my book SEDUCING THE STONES from Ellora’s Cave. There’s a Blue Moon in this story. The hero Rory was cursed by an ancient Sidhe curse for violating their sacred ground. He can only break this curse by an offering and a sexual ritual during a Blue Moon on the Eve of Samhain. I had to calculate how often that occured. It’s about every 80 years. So he had one night every 80 years to break this curse. He’d been trapped for over 300 years. But the ritual was also dangerous because of the location.

What do you think? Does a full moon make you loony? Make others loony?


I'm counting down to the release of SECRET SOIREE. The release date is this Friday November 26th. There's still time to enter my CONTEST. Enter a comment on any blog post this month and leave your email addy and I'll add you in for the drawing of a FREE download from any of my eBooks. Or send me a separate email to with November contest in subject line.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

eBook Revolution

About a year ago, I blogged about ebook vs print wars, but now I have to call it the eBook Revolution in line with the Industrial Revolution. Never have I seen a format of communication or entertaining cause such a stir in a matter of months, and influence publishing, media, commerce and other businesses to this extent. Maybe because I’m published by an eBook publisher Ellora’s Cave, I’m more aware.

Last Christmas when I got my NOOK, the display in my Barnes and Noble for the NOOK was a small table and you had to find someone to show you how it worked. They might have had one cover that you could look at but you had to order them or any other accessory. A few months later, a print bookshelf was replaced by a much larger display with a variety of NOOK accessories and covers. Now, several large shelves in the front of the store have been cleared out and a whole section is devoted exclusively to the NOOK. My critique partner has been hired to work that area.

I’m not sure when eBooks first came out, but I do know that Ellora’s Cave has been in business for ten years. So they’re at least that old. During the last eight or nine years, there was a definite line drawn between print and eBooks. The major New York publishing houses weren’t producing their books in that format. Then technology caught up. And now all major publishers produce their books in print and eBook.

We’re in an age where three-year olds are learning to use computers and elementary school kids have their own cell phones and laptops. Most households have a menagerie of electronic devices. Will a year’s worth of textbooks soon be downloaded on a student’s iPad or NOOK or Kindle each year instead of students lugging worn print books?

I also heard recently an agent negotiated a contract for an author with an eBook publisher. Usually agents don’t bother with eBook publishers because there are no advances or minimal advances with eBook publishers. But the royalty rate is much higher. The business model with eBook publishers is structured differently than traditional publishers. I think we’ll be seeing more of this too as the lines between eBook and print book publishers fade.

This past week New York Times announced that they will be rating eBooks starting January ’11. In light with what’s going on in the industry, this was inevitable but I think this gives eBooks a new level of legitimacy. The publishing world and the public watch the NYT ratings. Whether the NYT list will eventually combine the print list with the ebook list is yet to be seen.


CONTEST:To celebrate my upcoming release SECRET SOIREE from Ellora’s Cave on November 26th, I’m giving away 1 readers choice download of any of my eBooks.
To Enter: post a comment on my blog any day during the month of November, include your email address and I’ll add you to the drawing. (If you prefer, you may send me your email privately at Put “November Contest” in subject line). Contest ends November 30th. Drawing will be on December 1st

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Extraordinary Worlds of Steampunk/November CONTEST

*November CONTEST info. at the end of this blog post.


To follow the last blog post about Speculative Fiction sub-genres, I decided to give more details on Steampunk and repost and earlier blog.

I don’t claim to know what this amazing world is all about but I am quite intrigued that that one can combine brass googles, motorcycle boots, a tight corset, suede or lace skirt and somehow manage to look gorgeously steamfashioned.

A long time fan of alternative fiction, science fiction and fantasy, I’m so glad to see books coming out in this sub-genre, especially romance. According to author Jeff VanderMeer, Steampunk, a term first coined in 1987, is a “retro- and forward-looking sense of adventure and discovery.” Steampunk has hit pop culture, and we can see influences in movies, art, comics and fashion.
Gail Carriger has an interesting write up on the two main types of Steampunk: Traditional, the H.G. Wells and Jules Verne type with a Victorian culture and setting, and Futuristic, an industrial steampunk set far in the future. If you read down in her article you'll see a link to Jeff VanderMeer's article. Click on the link to his article about the history of Steampunk

I’ve done some research on this topic and found that there are some die-hard Steampunk fans. Some who are purists about certain details. Similarly, there are avid fans in the vampire realms and the Regency era and I think it’s cool that these groups have such a loyal community. As with the vampire genre, I think this sub-genre will evolve as well where authors will create their own worlds and their own rules. Still, there must be a balance so verisimilitude and the flavor of Steampunk are maintained.

Ask different people what Steampunk is and you’ll get a variety of definitions. I found several different definitions on various websites and blogs. To me, Steampunk is usually (but not always) set during the 1800s where technology somehow has gone a bit skewed. Scientific advancements combine with the old, mechanical devices tend to be steam-powered, and are comprised of gears, cogs and clockwork parts. Dirigibles, time machines, mechanical spiders, automatons, amazing underwater ships and cities, underground cities and moon rockets are just some of the oddities that can be found in Steampunk. But the setting doesn’t end there. I also like the futuristic and otherworldly Steampunk settings. Look at the movie City of Ember (click for cool trailer).
Thanks to for the following definitions. She has a fabulous site on all things Steampunk.


Victorian Science Fiction – Steampunk set in Victorian era with futuristic or science fiction elements. Think: The Time Machine by H. G. Wells.
Gaslamp Fantasy – The Girl Genius Steampunk, tight bodices, slapstick comedy and non-humans. Setting is variable, doesn’t have to be Victorian.
Fireside Science Fiction – A warm and cozy type where Victorian gentlefolk may begin their adventure around a fireplace with a small brandy, but could end up on the moon or beyond!
Neo-Victoriania – A Japanese originated alternative where the aim is to recreate certain Victorian aspects of life using modern tools and ways. Elegant Gothic Lolita.
Wild/Weird West – Centered on the American West in the 19th Century. You’ll find cowboys and scientists alongside saloon girls and giant mechanical spiders. Wild, Wild, West.
Voyages Extraordinaire – As seen in the Victorian adventures of Jules Verne.
Scientific Romance – An early, mostly British, name for science fiction, that fell out of fashion, but was also used to describe Verne’s works. Now being used more for nostalgic Victorian based science fiction.

I also came across Industrial Steampunk (futuristic), Clockpunk (1500s), dieselpunk (WWII) and Cyberpunk (computer/informational). I’m sure there are others.
Here’s Wiki’s take on Steampunk:

So what do you like about Steampunk? What do you know about it? Please share your views.

CONTEST: To celebrate my upcoming release: SECRET SOIREE at Ellora's Cave on November 26th, I'm giving away 1 Reader's Choice download of any one of my ebooks. To enter: Post a comment on the Passion Sense blog any day during the month of November and include your email address and I'll add you to the drawing. (If you prefer, you may send your email to me instead to: Put "November Contest" in Subject Line) Contest ends November 30th. I'll randomly select a name on December 1st.