As promised when you signed up for my newsletter, I said I would only send one out when I had some…um…news to share. Well, I finally do! 😀
First up, I’m celebrating a new release!
In honor of Halloween, I have a Vampire Diaries novella, Pursued by Evil, now available at Amazon through their Kindle Worlds program. If you’re a fan of the show, I hope you’ll enjoy this little adventure I’ve dreamed up for Stefan to help heal his broken heart after Elena chose Damon at the end of Season 4.
a 19,000-word novella
Stefan Salvatore leaves Mystic Falls, heartbroken that the love of his life has chosen his brother over him. Although a close friend recently reminded him that immortal beings have many loves in their lives, Stefan doubts he’ll ever meet anyone like Elena Gilbert again. That is, until a freak accident brings him face-to-face with equestrian trainer Ariana Pallas. She instantly reminds him of the young Elena he fell in love with, with one big exception. Ariana isn’t human. She isn’t a vampire either. In fact, Stefan has no idea what she is, but he’s willing to stick around a small Blue Ridge town to find out.
Meanwhile, Damon Salvatore knows he’d be a fool to think Elena’s feelings for Stefan have simply vanished because she chose Damon. The girl is riddled with guilt. He jets her off to Bermuda with the hope of assuaging some of that guilt with a little romance. Instead they encounter an evil so ancient and so elusive it was relegated to legend–an evil somehow connected to Stefan’s new lady friend, and on its way to Mystic Falls.
With time running out and options limited, the brothers must put aside their differences and team up to save the people they love from one pissed off hellion bent on exacting retribution for a centuries-old betrayal.
* * * * *
Second, if you’ve read my blog, you’ll notice from time to time I share crafting projects and recipes. Well, nothing inspires me, the reluctant cook, to head to the kitchen more than the approach of New England fall weather.
There’s something comforting about being in a warm kitchen with the scents of cinnamon and nutmeg and other various delights surrounding you. So in the run up to Thanksgiving and Christmas, I tend to do more baking than usual, and I also like to make soups. Perfect for those chilly autumn days!
One of my favorites is this one, adapted from Taste of Home’s Healthy Cooking magazine.
Butternut Squash Soup with Sage
- 1 butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and cut into cubes
- 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 bunch of celery, thinly sliced (I use the cellophane-wrapped celery hearts bunch you find at the supermarket)
- 1-2 tsp dry sage (start with 1 and see if you need the second. I find 1 is usually enough unless you are adding potato — see “Tip” below).
- 32oz box of chicken stock (I prefer to use the lower-sodium variety)
- Glass baking dish
- 2 large sauce pans, 1 cover
- In a glass baking dish, toss the cubes of squash with 1 Tbsp of olive oil and bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until a fork slides in easily .
- After squash is out of the oven, take a large sauce pan and pour the other Tbsp of olive oil in to coat the bottom.
- Add the chopped onion, celery and sage and saute until they are soft.
- Add the box of chicken broth and the squash and simmer covered for about 20 minutes until the squash is soft and everything is heated through.
- Remove saucepan from heat.
- In small batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth, placing the pureed soup into a second sauce pan as you go.
- Heat the pureed soup on the stove while stirring until well mixed. Now it’s ready to serve. Tastes great with warm bread or a nice salad. Enjoy!
Add salt or pepper or more sage to taste. Some people might like to sprinkle a little shredded cheese or salad croutons on top as well.
Tip: for a thicker soup, you can add a peeled, chopped potato to the simmering ingredients in step 4. Be sure to taste before you puree. You may need to add a little more salt or sage if you use the potato.
(Taste of Home also has another variation on this soup called Creamy Butternut Squash Soup, which uses potatoes and milk.)
Thirdly, if you’re a writer, I have two items that may be of interest. I’ll be teaching 3 online writer workshops during the month of November at different RWA chapters. You don’t need to be an RWA member to sign up. So, if the topics of web design, online workshop design or turning your story idea into a workable plot appeal to you, I hope you’ll check those out on my Workshops page.
Next, I’ll be participating in the NaNoWriMo challenge in November, trying to write 50,000 words in 30 days. If you’d like to be NaNo buddies, my NaNo name is “cmmc16,” and I’m happy to add you to my buddy list as well.
Happy Autumn, everyone. Enjoy your holidays!
Until next time,