Saturday, December 23, 2017

Happy holidays from @LeoRosanna!

Hi everyone! As 2017 comes to a close, I'd like to take a moment and wish you a merry Christmas and all the best in the new year.

It's been a tumultuous year for many and for a number of reasons. However, one thing I have seen over and over in 2017 is the way the romance community helps its own. We have rallied around each other and it's so nice to know this community is "home" for many of us.

As we head into 2018, I know I will definitely be bulking up my to-be-read list. With a few new releases this past year, I haven't been able to devote as much time to reading as I would have liked.

What do I have in store for you for the coming year? Well, I am currently writing the second books in both my Vegas Sins series and my Handymen series and I hope to get those out as soon as possible.

No matter how you celebrate the holidays, I hope you get lots of time with the people you love and a few nice treats along the way.

I wish you peace and love ... and romance, always.
Rosanna Leo

Monday, December 18, 2017

Poinsettias and Mistletoe by @elle_rush

I really hope Santa brings me a poinsettia this year. I don't always have the best of luck with live plants, but I'd do my best to keep it alive. I really would. I could keep it alive till New Year's Day at the very least. I prefer the red to the white, but I've seen some variated ones that look pretty cool.

I used to think mistletoe was the coolest Christmas plant, because YAY KISSING! Then I learned it was a type of fungus. Its appeal dimmed after that.

That's all that's missing from my Christmas decorations. The tree is up, the presents are wrapped, the cookies are baked (I have a list of easy Christmas cookie recipes on my blog) and the stockings are hung by the chimney with care. Okay, they're on top of the book case by the television, but they're out. I'm ready.

With a week to go, how are you doing with your plans?  Can I help? I know this can be an expensive month, so let me stuff your stocking with a bunch of FREE stuff.  I have a free recipe book full of holiday favourites. I also have a free book for you to read between batches of cookies (SCREEN IDOL will be back to regular prices in the new year.)

However  you are spending this holiday season - with family, friends, or on your own - I wish you a very merry Christmas, joyful holidays, and a wonderful new year. See you in 2018.



Do you know who else has poinsettias? Lots and lots of them? The heroine in my sweet Christmas novella, HOLLIS AND IVY.

Unlucky Ivy Teague can’t win against her competition’s dirty tactics, and she will have to close her flower shop unless a Christmas miracle arrives at her door.

Hollis Dash has been sent to finalize a business deal with Ivy’s rival, but meeting Ivy upsets all his plans. Can they both get what they want for Christmas?

Only Santa knows.

AmazonKobo:  iBooks:  B&N:  Google Play:  

If you like sweet holiday romances, you can also check out the first book in the North Pole Unlimited series - DECKER AND JOY, which is on sale for $0.99 until January. It also makes a great gift :)

Monday, December 11, 2017

Holiday Wishes from @SusanHayes

Wherever you are,
whichever faith sustains you,
Whatever the company you are keeping,
No matter how chaotic, crazy or stressful things are,
May each and every one of you be blessed with at least a single moment of peace this holiday season.

That moment when everything unimportant is set aside,
When the true meaning of the season fills your soul,
and shines like a beacon of joy in the darkness.
Family, friendship, love and laughter.
That's my wish for all of you.

**Along with plenty of new books to read, of course. 

And if all else fails, try serving these to keep the peace

Peppermint Patty Hot Chocolate

1 ounce peppermint schnapps

½ ounce dark crème de cacao

¼ ounce crème de menth

1 package hot chocolate mix

Pour the liqueurs into a warmed mug Irish coffee mug

Fill with hot chocolate.

Top with whipped cream & other garnishes (crushed candy canes, chocolate shavings, christmas cookie crumbs...)

If you warm the mug with hot water first, your drink will stay warm longer. Room temperature liqueurs will help keep this beverage hot, too.

May this holiday season bring you joy, laughter, minimal stress, and plenty of time to read!


Sunday, December 3, 2017

Something Sweet with @NathanBurgoine

I love to bake. And come the holidays, I start to bake—usually while listening to holiday audiobooks. It gets me into the holiday mood, provides snacks, and gives me an excuse to, y'know, eat the snacks.

My favourite? Swiss ginger cookies. I've fiddled with this recipe so much, I've got it down cold, and the cookies come out perfect: thin, crispy but also chewy (they're edible oxymorons)!

Take 1 and 1/2 cups of unsalted butter, pop it in a glass bowl with a cup of brown sugar and nuke it for say 25 seconds or so, enough to take a fork to it and smoosh it around until it's mixed together without any lumps of butter.

Add a room-temperature egg.

Stir that sucker up.

Turn the oven to 350 F (180 C). 

Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper (which is the best thing ever because no washing bloody cookie sheets after).

Add 1/4 cup of molasses to the egg, sugar and butter. Stir it all up again until it's even.

Add 1 and 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour. 1/2 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp of cloves, 2 tsp of baking soda, and 1 and 1/2 tsp of ground ginger. Stir again until it's even.

Grab a packet of crystallized ginger. Pull out a 1/2 cup measure. Chop the ginger into pretty small pieces (I aim for less than half a centimetre cubed, so it's a lot of chopping) put the bits into the 1/2 cup measure until it's full. Pop that into the bowl and stir, again.

Now, take some of the dough and try to roll an inch-sized ball (not larger) between your palms. Too sticky? Grab a tablespoon more of the all-purpose flour, mix it in, try again. Still too sticky? Another tablespoon of flour. If it's still a bit off, try adding a tablespoon of granulated sugar into the mix, too. Stir.

Speaking of granulated sugar, pour some into a small bowl. When you roll a ball of dough, you're going to dip it into the sugar and then put it on the parchment sheet sugar-dipped-side-up. If it's a bit tacky on your fingers and gets a tiny bit misshapen when you let go of the dough-ball, you've got the texture right. It'll melt flat while it bakes. 

For dog owners? Basically, you're going for the texture of a dog poop that's just on the edge of being able to pick up with the poop bag. You're welcome for the visual. If you're not a dog owner, uh, re-read the last paragraph there.

Try to make sure you don't put more than a dozen on the tray so they have room to spread while they bake without touching. Our oven runs a bit hot at 350 F so it's only about nine minutes a tray, but with my old oven it was 11; flick the light on and watch your first tray. Once they've flattened out, you'll see the edge of the cookies darken, so you might only need nine minutes. This is why I use two trays, one goes in, I prep the second, the first comes out, second goes in, I let the first sit four minutes to cool, then transfer cookies to the wire rack and prep the tray for it's next turn once the nine minute timer goes off, repeat. You don't need to change the parchment sheet between uses.

It makes about three and a half dozen (five sheets or so). 


Speaking of sweet holidays things, I also have a holiday novella that just came out. 

At nineteen, Nick is alone for the holidays and facing reality: this is how it will be from now on. Refusing to give up completely, Nick buys a Christmas tree, and then realizes he has no ornaments. A bare tree and an empty apartment aren’t a great start, but a visit from his friend Haruto is just the ticket to get him through this first, worst, Christmas. A box of candy canes and a hastily folded paper crane might not be the best ornaments, but it’s a place to start.
A year later, Nick has realized he’s not the only one with nowhere to go, and he hosts his first “Christmas for the Misfit Toys.” Haruto brings Nick an ornament for Nick’s tree, and a tradition—and a new family—is born.
As years go by, Nick, Haruto, and their friends face love, betrayal, life, and death. Every ornament on Nick’s tree is another year, another story, and another chance at the one thing Nick has wanted since the start: someone who’d share more than the holidays with him.

Handmade Holidays is available from NineStar Press, and, of course, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and everywhere quality LGBTQ e-romances are sold.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Guilt-Free Holiday Treats @LDBlakeley #Cookies #Recipes #Healthyish

It’s December! Have you started your Christmas shopping, yet? I'm all about the online retail so I'm pleased to say I have a pretty good handle on things this year.

I don’t know about you, but when the holidays roll around, I love to regale my loved ones with my culinary prowess (not to mention, my staggering modesty 😜)

I’ve spent years scouring the web for tasty treasures that I’ve adapted into healthier renditions or, at the very least, versions with fewer calories than found in their original form. So I thought I’d share a few of them with you, lovely readers!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookes, Cranberry Almond Oatmeal Cookies & Easy Peasy Chocolate Bites

My big weakness is peanut butter. Truth be told, I’m perfectly happy to eat it straight from the jar. I know. Pretty civilized, right? I didn’t say I was proud. As a result, I give you:


1C margarine (2 sticks), softened
1 C natural peanut butter
1 C Brown Sugar Splenda
½ C Egg Beaters (or 2 large eggs)
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2½ C rolled oats
1½ C whole wheat flour

  • Preheat oven to 350°C
  • Combine softened margarine and peanut butter in a large bowl
  • Add Splenda & egg beaters and mix until smooth, fluffy and glossy
  • Stir in vanilla
  • Add salt, baking soda, oatmeal and flour; Stir well
  • Spoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet & flatten with the back of a spoon or a fork
  • Bake 12 to 15 minutes

Makes 45 medium/large cookies.

Calories: 108 | Fat: 5.8 g | Sodium: 62 mg | Carbs: 9.4 g | Fibre: 1.1 g | Protein: 3 g



1 C canned pumpkin (pure pumpkin, not pie filling)
½ C cup brown sugar Splenda
½ C Egg Beaters (or 2 large eggs)
1 tsp. vanilla
1½ C whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp. salt
3 C rolled oats
1 C dried cranberries
½ C slivered or sliced almonds

  • Heat oven to 350°C
  • Beat together pumpkin and sugar
  • Add eggs and vanilla, beat well
  • Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon salt ; mix
  • Stir in rolled oats, cranberries & almonds
  • Drop rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet
  • Bake 10-12 minutes

Makes 45 cookies.

Calories: 66 | Fat: 1 g | Sodium: 4 mg | Carbs: 12 g | Fibre: 2 g | Protein: 2 g


I realize that not everyone has the time, nor the inclination to go all Great Canadian Baking Show simply because it’s the holidays. So for those of you who can’t be arsed with baking (but don’t want to bring a bag of Oreos to your company pot luck), get ready to start falling in love with me. My Easy Peasy Chocolate Bites only involves 3 main ingredients, and you’ll look like a rock star when you show up with these bad boys.


1 package (250g) Philadelphia Light Cream Cheese
1 Cake Mix (I used Betty Crocker Super Moist Devil’s Food)
¼ C Margarine
to sprinkle on top:
1 tbsp. (approx.) cocoa powder
1 tbsp. (approx.) icing sugar

  • Preheat oven to 350°C
  • Soften cream cheese & margarine in microwave & mix together in large bowl
  • Add cake mix & combine well
  • Roll into balls (approximately 2.5cm | 1”)
  • Place on ungreased cookie sheet
  • Bake 12 minutes
  • Dust lightly with cocoa powder & icing sugar while still warm
This recipe makes 72 to 75 chocolate bites – enough to share with the whole class!
And be sure to store these guys in the refrigerator (they do have cream cheese in them, after all!)

Calories: 37 | Fat: 1 g | Sodium: 76 mg | Carbs: 6 g | Fibre: 0.2 g | Protein: 0.6 g

Oh, and if anyone can tell me why the marketing geniuses in Canada never stopped to think, “Hey, that’s pretty gross,” when they signed off on Lait de Poule (literally: chicken milk) for their packaging, I’d be curious to hear about it. I mean, it’s a glorious way to wash down some tasty treats. Just don’t think about the name, is all I’m saying.

Lait de Poule - REALLY?

Until next time,