Saturday, December 15, 2012

                December 2012/January 2013
Holiday Recipes
Jello Cookie Gems
1 package of Cream Cheese, room tempature (8 oz. package)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups flour
1 pkg. (3 ounce) Jello-any flavor
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1) In large bowl, beat cream cheese butter until smooth. Add in sugar and vanilla, brating until mixed. In a small bowl add the flour, dry jello, baking soda and mix lightly then slowly add it to the creamed mixture, beating well after each addition. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2) Heat oven at 325 degrees and roll into dough balls (1 inch) and place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets sprayed with cooking spray or on parchment paper.
3) Bake 9-11 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on wire rack.
4) Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving.
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Pecan tarts
Pastry shell
1 cup butter
6 ozs cream cheese
2 cups flour
4 Tablespoons melted butter
1 pinch of salt
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
cup chopped pecans
3 cups packed brown sugar
·       To make shell, cream softened butter and cream cheese together. Add flour and mix well. Make into 48 balls and place one each into mini tart pan. No need to oil pan.
·       To make filling, break eggs, don't beat. Add sugar, melted butter, salt, vanilla, and pecans. Mix well. Fill shells leaving room for expansion. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until delicately browned.
·       I made them in cupcake liners and pan since I intended to us them in gift packages--half the number of dough balls. Baking time was about the same. These can also be made ahead of time and frozen.
Tried this one for the first time today. All I can say is yum. I thought to take just one bite to see how they'd turned out. It led to....I expect to gain weight this holiday season.
Fair warning, they aren't very pretty, but as I said, yum.
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Quick And Easy Fruit Pie
Frozen pie crust (regular, not deep)
1 frozen pack of a combo of all the berries, plus 1/2 pack of frozen blueberries.
(Use the pie shell still frozen)
Dump in all the berries.
First topping--mix:
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
The mix:
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter (which is half a stick. )
·       Several generous shakes of cinnamon.
·       Mix the butter well into the flour and sugar combination.
·       Drop the result evenly on top of the first mixture over the berries.
·       Bake for 45 to 50 minutes on cookie sheet at 400 degrees. (I recommend checking at 45 minutes because mine is always done by then.)
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Easy Peasy Beautiful Candy Bark
·       Looking for a last-second stunning gift or impressive treat to share?
·       Candied White Chocolate Bark is perfect.
·       Buy a block of that white bark stuff at the grocery store, and whatever hard candy you like – any flavor candycanes or hard candy; have some waxed or parchment paper spread out on a counter or baking sheet.
·       Melt the bark in a double boiler or microwave (just watch it carefully in the nuker – it will burn easily or get hard and gooey if cooked too long).
·       Crush up the candy (I like to use an old plastic bread bag and a rolling pin), leaving some fingernail sized pieces.
·       Dump the candy into the melted bark and spread on waxed or parchment paper and let cool a couple of hours.
·       Break into chunks – voila! looks cool, and if you can resuse some of those metal containers or get some cheap cute ones at the dollar store, your giftee will be delighted.
·       Pair it with a good romantic book, Like Meander Scar (or an Amazon or Barnes and Noble e-gift copy), a cup of Christmas tea, and a box of kleenex, and it’s a perfect gift... ;) Just sayin’.
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Lorna and Larry Collins wrote about both of these in our book, 31 Months in Japan.
Auntie Wanda’s Pumpkin Pie
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 can (29 oz.) pumpkin
1½ cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. allspice
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1 cup undiluted evaporated milk
2/3 cup half & half
1 Tbsp. molasses
2 9” unbaked pie shells
Combine ingredients in order given. Pour into pie crusts. Bake in preheated 425˚ oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350˚. Bake 40-50 minutes more or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool. Serve topped with whipped cream.
The first Thanksgiving Lorna and Larry were in Japan, Lorna wanted to bake this pie but the ingredients were impossible to find. (Read about it in the Holidays chapter of 31 Months in Japan: the Building of a Theme Park.) In subsequent years, she planned ahead and this was one of the favorites of our Japanese friends. On that first Thanksgiving of 1998, however, Lorna made Aunt Muriel’s Pumpkin Chiffon Pie instead. For Christmas of 2000, Auntie Wanda’s Pumpkin Pie was a big hit. Lorna probably baked at least half a dozen of them.
Aunt Muriel’s Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
1 pkg. dream Whip
½ cup milk
½ tsp. vanilla
2/3 cup milk
Instant vanilla pudding
1 cup canned pumpkin
¾ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
Baked pie shell or graham cracker crust
Prepare Dream Whip with ½ cup milk and vanilla. Combine 1 cup with instant pudding. Add 2/3 cup of milk, pumpkin and spices. Beat thoroughly. Mix about 1 min. Put in pie shell. Cool for two hours and serve topped with remaining Dream Whip.
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This is easy and yummy. If you have a group and enough mugs, everyone can enjoy making their own cake. It's a wonderful way to entertain kids. (If children are making it, leave out the coffee and add one more tablespoon of milk.)
Henry King's Cake in a Mug
Serves 1
4 T flour
4 T sugar
2 T cocoa (the unsweetened kind)
Tiny shake of salt
1 egg
2 T milk
1 T strong coffee
3 T vegetable oil
Small splash vanilla extract
1 large microwave-safe coffee mug
·       Add dry ingredients to mug and mix well.
·       Add egg. Mix well again
·       Pour in milk, coffee, oil, and vanilla extract and stir until blended.
·       Put mug in microwave and cook for three minutes on high setting
·       Don't be alarmed! Cake will rise over top of mug.
·       Allow to cool a little; tip onto plate if desired, or eat directly from mug.
Note: Radine Trees Nehring’s editor wanted to delete this recipe from the book because he tried it with self-rising flour and ended up with a microwave mess. The recipe calls for plain flour, and it didn't occur to me to mention this. We sorted things out and the recipe remained in the novel.
A Regency Christmas

Pemberton Hall, England - 1814

The hall is ablaze with lights as servants bustle about. The Duke and Duchess of Pemberton are positively famous for their Annual Christmas Ball. Bedrooms have been aired and dusted for arriving guests. The ballroom and other public rooms are festooned with greenery. The kitchens are a hive of activity as dishes of every variety are prepared.
A secured invitation ensures one's position in the ton for the upcoming season. The noblest of England’s finest families vie for the honor to attend—most especially those with daughters of a marriageable age. As the Christmas Ball fills with guests ranging from scandalous rogues to men of good heart, all of whom dance attendance on the lovely ladies of the beau monde, a happily ever after affords the most wondrous Christmas of all.
Please join the Wild Okie Writers as they present the *free* serial Regency romance, My True Love Gave to Me.
Chapter 1: A Partridge in a Pear Tree
Chapter 2: Two Turtle Doves
Chapter 3: Three French Hens
Chapter 4: Four Calling Birds
Chapter 5: Five Golden Rings
Chapter 6: Six Geese A Laying
Chapter 7: Seven Swans A Swimming
Chapter 8: Eight Maids A Milking
Chapter 9: Nine Ladies Dancing
Chapter 10: Ten Lords A Leaping
Chapter 11: Eleven Pipers Piping
Chapter 12: Twelve Drummers Drumming
New Releases

The Pilot
(An Outer Rim Novel: Book 1)
There's no place like home and he just stole hers. Cargo hauler, risk taker Celera d'Enfaden must work with rule-bound Administrator Trevarr Jovano to save her brother from a galactic gangster.
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Cross of Death
Coming soon to Secret Cravings Publishing Jan 11
When the sun dawns, Princess Fayahstella has disappeared, Garran is a prisoner on his way to Caslock’s torture chambers, refusing to say where she has gone, and fractions of an ancient religion struggled to fulfill the prophecy, one to save him and another to kill.
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Taming April
Cowboy Fever Series, Book 4
Return to cowboy country in Fever, Texas, where the heat isn't the only thing causing a fever! See if you can find the heirloom wedding band!
Shawn Jacobs, co-owner of Triple Aces Ranch, is the ultimate ladies’ man. But, as his best friends find the women of their dreams and get hitched one by one, he wonders what he’s missing.
Once a classmate of Shawn’s and the daughter of a hard-working ranch hand who never had enough money to buy her a dress, let alone move out of the filthy hovel they’d lived in together after her mother’s death, April St. Clair is a high-powered lawyer. She’s left the dirty, dusty, stinking life of cattle ranching as far behind her as she can get. The men she dates are dressed to the nine’s, and their hands are as soft as their hearts. Unfortunately, she hasn’t come home once since she left for college. When her father dies—alone—she’s devastated. The only thing he left behind is a young mare that he’d wanted Shawn Jacobs and no other to train.
When the beautiful, snotty, green-eyed blond shows up at Triple Aces in treacherous high heels and designer clothing, asking him to train her father’s horse, Shawn’s amusement quickly turns to annoyance—and more. April infuriates him even as she turns him on. He knows it isn’t just the wild horse that needs to be tamed. April resists him at every turn, but even she isn’t immune to cowboy fever.


  Losing Santa
I've always loved Christmas, but in 1954, the holiday changed forever.
That February, I returned from second grade to the news that my father had died. He went to work and was gone. Since he left us only enough money for his to burial, Mom became the sole support for our family at a time when women didn't work.
My grandmother insisted we (Mom, my 4-year-old brother and I) spend Christmas at her house.
Christmas morning, we awoke to presents under the tree. However, later I discovered all the boxes and discovered Santa's real identity, and my childhood ended.
Lorna and Larry Collins
Exclusive to Romancing the Heart Interviews
*"Christmas" photo provided by Danio Rizzuti,

Monday, November 12, 2012

                November/December 2012
New Releases 
Daniel's Desire
Confederate soldier, Lt. Daniel McCoy has just escaped from a Union prison. The last thing he needs is to wander into the farm of Rosemarie Wilson, a widow hovering near death, with three small children. But is it only honor that keeps him from leaving?
Miss Merry's Christmas
The Duke of Penrose is not happy with Miss Meredith Chambers, the American governess his new wards have arrived with. He quickly replaces her, happy to have his unwanted attraction to the unsuitable woman behind him. Until his mother hires her as a companion…
Four Of A Kind
Four stories of mystery and suspense by authors J. R. Lindermuth, Carol Culver Rzadkiewicz, Douglas Quinn and Sara Williams--Edited by Douglas Quinn. White Heron Press
Clumsy Girl’s Guide to Falling in Love
Book 1 of the Friendship Heirlooms Series
Return to the quaint little town of Peaceful, Wisconsin, from Karen Wiesner’s award-winning Family Heirlooms Series, where you first met and fell in love with these colorful, lovable friends. Now you can read the stories of those secondary characters in an all-new spin-off series. Nuggets of faith can be passed down as heirlooms from friend to friend, heart to heart, soul-mate to soul-mate.
Eva Pennington - Trouble in Georgia
While expanding her banking empire into Georgia, Eva clashes with devious Atlanta good-old-boys who think her ambitions are unseemly for a woman. But they’re desperate for Eva’s investment in their banks to avert financial calamity – a calamity created by their own poor management. Convinced they can out-smart Eva, the bankers try to secure her cash infusion without sharing control. As Eva and her team get to work on a hostile takeover, she finds she must put her romance with Dutch on a back burner and focus on out-maneuvering the bankers and escaping the violent intentions of the Georgia boys’ pals in the Ku Klux Klan.
Bastards of Ran
Deceit and betrayal end in torture Jaylon suffers all because a legend promised the return of the Bastards of Ran.
From the atrocities of war a decision was made to save their race and their world. Protection of those of paramount value must be assured by any means. Ships orbiting their planet were built. Only when their planet would not support even war, the last and lowest, the military, were sent to the ships. From the age of seven when his training began, Jaylon knew only military. Guard duty in the Paramount lounge should have been easy duty though he was warned by his peers to never trust the Paramounts, especially the woman.
New Contracts
Open And Shut, by John R. Lindermuth, a crime story about a murder/suicide with a twist. Tentative release date is April 2013, Untreed Reads,
On Valentine's Day, a Valentine's Anthology, with Raine Delight, February 2013, It's Raining Men/Sara York (Publishers)
A Courtesan's Desires is Killarney Sheffield’s fourth novel and first ever Eppie nomination and finalist. Winners to be announced March 16th in Vancouver Washington.
Giveaways & News
©     Every month, Karen Wiesner is giving away an autographed trade paperback every month to subscribers of my newsletter, Karen's Quill! Subscribe by visiting my website at or by sending a blank e-mail to!
©     Come celebrate the holidays with Jewels of the Quill and our annual Christmas giveaway galore! See our website for the colossal list of prizes we’re giving away. To be eligible to win this month’s giveaways, visit our website at and/or subscribe to the Jewels of the Quill newsletter, if you're not currently a member, by sending a blank e-mail to
© Only those subscribed to our monthly newsletter will be eligible to win prizes. All members currently subscribed and set to receive mail (not “no mail” or “special announcements only”) will automatically be eligible every month.
©   In 2013, Karen Wiesner’s multi-award-winning Wounded Warriors Series will be revised and reissued. RELUCTANT HEARTS, Book 1, will be out February 2013, WAITING FOR AN ECLIPSE, Book 2, April 2013, MIRROR MIRROR, Book 3, May 2013, WAYWARD ANGELS, Book 4, June 2013, UNTIL IT’S GONE, Book 5, July 2013, and WHITE RAINBOW, Book 6, September 2013. All will be published by Writers Exchange E-publishing in electronic formats. Trade paperbacks will be available from Find out more here:
5 Stars! “CLUMSY GIRL’S GUIDE TO FALLING IN LOVE, Book 1 of Karen Wiesner’s Friendship Heirlooms Series, will have you laughing, crying and empathizing with Zoë throughout the entire story. Zoë has always been the clumsy girl, never really fitting in. When she attempts to fit in, others accept her, but she still feels out of place and in her own world. Zoë runs into Curt and the old memories return and although they both fight them and Zoë is determined not to be with Curt, are they really meant to be together forever? I feel this book has been well-written. While reading it, I felt as if I were a part of the characters’ lives as Zoë is talking with the reader throughout the book, sharing her thoughts, feelings and experiences. Zoë is such a likable character and someone whom so many readers could relate to on many levels. There are times when we all feel as if we do not fight into the world that we are living in and are searching for that perfect fit, not to mention that perfect someone to share life with. Zoë and Curt have a past and, while it was a wonderful past together, so much time has passed and with the hurt feelings and misunderstandings, they must find where they are at now. Relationships are something that are wonderful but confusing and hard at the same time and readers relate to this and will be sucked right into the drama of the Curt and Zoë relationship in this book and will want to keep reading until the end!” ~Kristie I. for Readers Favorite
“This is a delightful short novel with incredible depth of emotion packed into it, as well as much fun. It should be a movie! In fact, when you read this, you’ll feel like you’ve settled back in your seat and are enjoying the next great romantic comedy—but with much more depth. (Hollywood, take note of this story!) Zoe and Curt once dated, but they let their flaws and life’s rotten circumstances color their thinking and push them apart. Now they’re thrown back together and they have to sort through everything from their own relatives’ bad examples for living right, to old flames coming back. Secrets get revealed on almost every page, which kept me reading and entertained. I was also hooked by Zoe and Curt meeting to walk their Maine coon cats. That device of the cats does not take over the story, though, and the author wisely lets it settle into the background as we’re sucked into the subject of what it takes for each of us to truly value the individuals who matter most in our lives: friends, family, and spouse or spouse-to-be. This romantic relationship novel asks important thematic questions throughout: Do you put into actions the words you say about respecting others and the person you say you love most in your life? Do you take the time to really get to know somebody? How hard are you working at being a true friend? How hard are you working at being the best person you can be overall? In this novel, author Karen Wiesner allows the reader to navigate nothing short of your soul. Zoe and Curt are flawed characters, and thus people like “us.” Zoe and Curt have to navigate their mistakes (humorous and serious ones), ask forgiveness, and then find ways to show appreciation for the goodness found in the other person. There’s a lovely prescription here in this book for being a better and happier person. But don’t think this novel is “heavy”—remember the cats and Zoe’s clumsiness! You can read this novel for the pure joy, laughter, and funny antics that happen because of the cats and Zoe’s clumsiness with most everything she says and does. I smiled and chuckled a lot while reading this. Zoe and Curt have their hands full with family, friends, and felines. I loved this novel! Karen Wiesner outdoes herself yet again with another well-written story.” ~Christine DeSmet, author, First-Degree Fudge, Book 1, Door County Fudge Shop Mystery Series (debuting in 2013), also a professional screenwriter , and a faculty associate of writing, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Christine is the director of the national Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat
4 Stars! “This is an inspirational romance, meaning that the characters often turn to God for His guidance. If you are not a Christian, you will still enjoy this tale very much because the author doesn’t shove religion down the throats of her readers. This story focuses on the trust and romance of the main couple. That is one of the things I like most about the author, Karen Wiesner. Each character has its own developed background; however, the main and secondary characters have fully developed ones. Zoë’s roommate will have her story told in a later title. Zoë’s two other friends had their stories told in the Family Heirloom Series (of which this new series is a spin-off). Each title is a stand-alone story and, as always, each story is fabulous!”
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Eva Pennington - Trouble in Georgia
A sequel to "Eva Marie Pennington," the main character, Eva, is fascinating and unforgettable. She is charming, beautiful, cunning, and brilliant, and each of the women she has carefully selected for her "team," as she calls it, outwit the so-called financial wizards who think a woman couldn't possibly run a financial empire, and they try with every attempt possible, including attempts at her life, to get rid of her. But she shows them; does she ever! This book has it all -- intrigue, suspense, romance, sex, and most of all, great writing by an author whose name I believe we are going to see a lot more of. And I hope to see a lot more of Eva, too. This is definitely one of those "couldn't stop reading it!" books.
Karen Wiesner
©     In December 2012, Karen will be interviewed at The Romance Studio with the release of CLUMSY GIRL’S GUIDE TO FALLING IN LOVE, Book 1 of the Friendship Heirlooms Series:
©     December 16, 2012, Karen will be the guest author at Janet Lane Walter’s blog with the release of CLUMSY GIRL’S GUIDE TO FALLING IN LOVE, Book 1 of the Friendship Heirlooms Series:
©     December 16, 2012, Karen will be the guest author at the Bookingly Yours blog with the release of CLUMSY GIRL’S GUIDE TO FALLING IN LOVE, Book 1 of the Friendship Heirlooms Series:
©     December 18, 2012, Karen will provide a guest post at the Bookingly Yours blog with the release of CLUMSY GIRL’S GUIDE TO FALLING IN LOVE, Book 1 of the Friendship Heirlooms Series: