Chocolate Cookies & Fall Reading <3

Hello VIPs. Today, I thought I’d share a bit more about myself with all of you. At one time in my life, I was an avid baker and entered as many competitions as I could. All those years have garnered a lot of book fodder for future projects and on more than one occasion, also pushed me outside my comfort zone. I didn’t win every competition but I came back each year ready to try again. Isn’t that the point of life? Keep going and make it happen. That’s what I did. I find immense joy in baking and I firmly believe writing is a lot like baking. You need the perfect recipe for everything to come together. Without it, you’ve got one big mess on your hands and a lot of dirty dishes. Here are just a handful of ribbons I’ve won over the years. Many are still packed away and sadly, a few were ruined when one of our basements flooded a few years ago. But, I’ll always have the memories, right?

 

 

 

Speaking of books… Surprise! We released a book today! This is my last release of 2017. The Perfect Gift, A Christmas Anthology. Susan Fisher-Davis, Robin Deeter, Sherri Good, Cynthia Knoble, Screaming Mimi, Jacqueline Anne and I have brought you seven Christmas stories sure to warm up your chilly evening. A little naughty, a little nice…Perfect. Be sure to grab your copy and if you have time, we’d love for you to leave us a review.

http://amzn.to/2zsU0sQ

Here’s a little bit about it…

From seven great authors comes seven captivating, romantic tales that will add something sweet and spicy to your Holiday Season.

A Cowboy for Christmas: He’s always desired her-his best friend’s wife. Now he has a chance to make her his unless he’s just a stand-in for her late husband.

The Silver Bell Shifter: Riley Flowers moves to Wolf Junction, Nebraska, and is intensely drawn to sexy Calvin Lightfoot, but can she accept the shifter side of him and come to love the man within?

Mr. Christmas: When ‘Santa’ makes an undeliverable promise, Brooke loses her tight control on life. Is Mr. Christmas her dream come true, or just another lump of coal?

A River Jewel Christmas: Hunter Golde’s world is shattered. Can a seductive stranger repair her heart and show her the true meaning of Christmas?

Love on Village Lane: Rylan was captivated by Holly’s passion for Christmas and her Village Lane bakery. Will the workaholic risk his career for a chance at love?

Miracle on 3rd Street: When a grinch threatens to ruin Sue’s Christmas, William may just be the Santa she needs to make it right.

Christmas Treasures: Riley Miller’s holiday spirit has deserted her, but a longtime friend has a plan.
An empty nest, unrequited love, and a Christmas treasure hunt, what could go wrong?

  

As for what I’m reading…

http://amzn.to/2zGJcIP

New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak returns to Silver Springs with a moving story about rebuilding your life when you’ve got nothing left to lose 

Savanna Gray needs a do-over. Her “perfect” life unraveled when, to her absolute shock, her husband was arrested for attacking three women. With her divorce settled, she takes her two children home to Silver Springs to seek refuge between the walls of the farmhouse where she was born. It needs a little TLC, but she’s eager to take control of something. 

Gavin Turner understands the struggle of starting over. Abandoned at a gas station when he was five, it wasn’t until he landed at New Horizons Boys Ranch as a teen that he finally found some peace. He steps up when Savanna needs help fixing things—even when those things go beyond the farmhouse. 

Despite an escalating attraction to Gavin, Savanna resolves to keep her distance. She trusted her ex, who had a similarly tragic background, and is unwilling to repeat her past mistakes. But it’s hard to resist a man whose heart is as capable as his hands.

 

You can grab your copy anywhere books are sold. I’m so in love with the Silver Springs Series by Brenda Novak. (I haven’t found a book of hers yet that I couldn’t put down.) However, this series is…special. After reading each book, I feel as if I know these characters. Brenda has created another wonderful place to escape to.

If you’re a member of Brenda Novak’s Book Group on Facebook, you could win this paperback copy from me. Just go here to join:

http://bit.ly/2hlJZHm 

 

What I’m baking…

 German Chocolate Cake Cookies.

Buckle up. This recipe is a bit long…But soooo worth it when you bite into these warm, gooey chocolate goodies.

 

**Do NOT preheat your oven. Mix your cookie dough first.**

 

Cookie Dough:

1 C. Butter (2 sticks)

1 C. Milk Chocolate Chips

2 C. Sugar

2 Eggs

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 C. Flour

 

Frosting:

½ C. Firmly Packed Brown Sugar

¾ C Tightly Packed Coconut

½ C. Chopped Pecans

¼ C. Chilled Butter (1/2 stick)

 

**In a glass bowl, melt butter and chocolate chips in microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes. Stir until smooth.**

In another mixing bowl, mix the sugar and the eggs. Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt and vanilla. When the chocolate and butter mixture is no longer hot to the touch, add it to the sugar mixture and mix thoroughly. Add the flour and mix well. Dough will be stiff and a bit crumbly. (Cover dough and set aside).

 

**Frosting: Combine the brown sugar and coconut in a food processor. Mix until the coconut is in small pieces. Add the pecans. Cut the butter into four chunks and add to the mix. Process until the butter is mixed and in small bits.

 

Chill the frosting while you preheat your over to 350 F.

Roll bits of cookie dough into 1-inch balls. Place cookie dough balls on a greased or silicone cookie sheet. Using your thumb or small spoon, press the center of the ball, making deep indents in each dough ball. Roll frosting into ½ inch balls and place into the cookie dough indents.

Bake at 350 F for 10-12 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for at least two minutes before moving them to a cookie rack or other surface. Makes 5-6 dozen cookies.

 

So, there you have it. That’s what I’m reading and baking this week. Hope you enjoyed today’s post. Let me know you were here by leaving me a comment below.

XOXO,

Madison

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Special Guest: T.M. Cromer, Author of Finding You and The Nanny Crisis

Please give a warm welcome to T.M. Cromer…

Author Pic

BIO:

While I’m originally from New Jersey, I spent most of my growing up years in Flagler Beach & Palm Coast, Florida. More recently, I relocated with my husband to Illinois where I met and fell in love with my true love, Tinkerbell. My hubby has come to understand she ranks first in my affections, as I rank in hers. He’s cool with it. 🙂

Job titles I currently hold: Author, Professional Waster-of-Time, Hammock Mounting Safety Instructor, Margarita Mixologist and Spoiler of Dogs. On a serious note: Until now, “A jack of all trades and master of none” best described me. Yet, through all my career changes, my husband has been a saint. He would always encourage me to turn back to my real love, writing. I’ve always felt it is important to be true to yourself. To feed your soul.

Over the years, I’ve taken writing classes and have now decided to put what I’ve learned to good use. Sammy’s story, FINDING YOU, was my first experience with writing a full length novel. I am extremely proud of what I’ve created. It is my hope that this will be everyone’s new go-to book. That they will want to read it again and again for the emotion it evokes. CURRENT WORK IN PROGRESS: I intended my second novel to be Margie’s story, WHEN I SAW YOU AGAIN. However, my brain had other ideas and nagged me endlessly until I started THE NANNY CRISIS, due January 2016. While I don’t blog per se, I do host an Author Expo on my website tmcromer.com which showcases other writers and their works. I’m thrilled with how it’s all come together. You can find me on on various social media sites:

Q&A with T.M. Cromer:

1) Author name

T.M. Cromer

2) Tell us when you decided you wanted to become an author.

There has never been a time I didn’t enjoy writing. Since the age of twentyfive, I toyed with the idea of being a professional writer. At thirty-five, I decided one day I would be a published author. It took me quite a few more years to make that dream come to fruition. 2015 became my year. I achieved my goal. Yay ME!

3) What books have you written and published?

FINDING YOU (Sammy’s Story) is available for sale in ebook and paperback format. I putting the finishing touches on my second story, THE NANNY CRISIS which is due January 2016.

findingyouedge

Finding_You_Cover_for_Kindlejpg

4) Tell a little about your book or one of your books.

FINDING YOU is the story of love, loss, unfailing belief, and rising up against all odds to find happiness. There are many plot twists. This isn’t your run of the mill romance. At present, reviews are holding at 4.8 stars. So I can say with all confidence, you will enjoy this book. Back cover description: Samantha and Michael had the perfect relationship, until one day they didn’t. In a devastating turn of events, Michael leaves on a business trip and never returns home. It takes two years, a stay in a mental health facility, and a new career for Samantha to rebuild her life. She even has a new love interest. But when a business trip to the city where Michael disappeared brings a chance encounter, Samantha starts to question what really happened that day so long ago. Could a stranger be the key to discovering the answers she needs to find Michael? Forced to delve into the mystery of her soulmate’s disappearance or accept the new love that life has offered her, Samantha faces a difficult decision.

Links for purchase: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B011PQJONQ

http://www.tmcromer.com/#!books/c15ep

The Nanny Crisis

5) What can we look forward to reading from you in the future?

The next three novels in the Holt Series are:

• WHEN I SAW YOU AGAIN (Margie’s Story)

• A GHOST IN THE MIST (Jamie’s Story)

• AFTER THE WRECK (Annie’s Story)

I have plans for four additional books from characters we meet in these stories.

6) Can you give some advice to those who are looking to become or are new authors?

The best advice I can offer is not be in a hurry. Listen and watch people. See how they interact. Keep a notebook and detail what you see in every day life. It will help you with character development. Also, I see so many new authors rush their product to market without taking the time to construct a diverse beta group for feedback and without taking the time for proper editing. All this is with the intent to sell hundreds if not thousands of books right out of the gate. This isn’t going to happen. No one has heard of you. Even the people who know you will want to just pat you on the head and say, “Oh, you wrote a book? How nice.” without ever buying a single copy in support of you. Trust me. Take the time in creating that first book. Make it exceptional. If you do that, people with be waiting impatiently for your next one. And if you don’t, if you just say “I’ll get them the next time,” you are fooling yourself. No one will want to pick up that second novel. You won’t be able to pay them to do so.

Things to remember: 1. Editing is key. A poorly edited book will turn off readers.

2. Have someone other than yourself edit the book. You know what it should say in your mind, not what it actually does. You will see what you created when reading, not what is in print.

3. Well developed characters with real flaws are a must. People don’t like perfect.

4. Don’t spam people with your book. Find other creative ways to market that will not turn potential fans off your product before you begin.

5. Find someone you trust to be honest to read and provide feedback for your novel before you publish. No one wants to put out a crappy product. If you have a lot of “yes men” who don’t tell you the truth except what they think you want to hear, you will never know the true quality of your work.

6. Be open enough for constructive criticism. Take everything in, work it around in your mind, and use what you will. Discard the rest. Ultimately you are the author of your story, but don’t be stubborn or set in your ways. If 9 of 10 people tell you there is a plot hole, the story probably has a plot hole in spite of what you believe.

7) Links to your social media sites and your website.

Author Website: http://tmcromer.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/tmcromer

Twitter: www.twitter.com/tmcromer

Instagram: www.instagram.com/tmcromer

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/tmcromer

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/tmcromer

T.M., thank you so much for stopping by. It was a pleasure to have you here and I look forward to reading more of your work.

Readers: Please be sure to check out books by T.M. Cromer and stop back to let us know what you think. As always, please remember to leave honest reviews for any books you read.

Happy Reading!

XOXOXOX,

Madison

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