How did this happen?
I was quietly minding my own September, when BAM, November rammed itself into my life with no apologies whatsoever.
On the plus side, in October, I went to New York! I got one of those total makeover thingees at Sephora, and it was fantastic! It was the girliest thing I’ve done in years. But so worth it. I was pampered and made up with so many makeups (New word by me. Shh.) it was crazy. It made me feel like my face could withstand the apocalypse.
Although I’ll never use a lot of what was applied, I did learn a new way to do my eyebrows (brush them up!) and eyeliner (purple!). But the purpose of stopping by Sephora was to feel good, and look pretty, both of which I accomplished.
I also took lots of pictures of Little Italy for my next series and I was sad to see how little of Little Italy remains. I did have some great pizza though, so that was cool.
The best part of my trip was my niece’s wedding, and seeing my family.
But the pizza was a really close runner up.
And because it’s almost Thanksgiving, here’s my go-to cranberry sauce:
Spiced Cranberry Sauce
Prep time: 20 mins
Total time: 20 mins
• 12 oz. fresh cranberries
• ¾ cup pure maple syrup (I prefer Grade B)
• ⅓ cup water
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
• Juice and zest of ½ a lemon
• 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1. Wash the cranberries and discard any soft ones.
2. In a 1½ quart sauce pot, combine the water, maple syrup, lemon juice, ginger, cardamom and cinnamon over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Add the cranberries, and cook for 15 minutes. The cranberries should burst and the sauce will thicken. Make sure you don’t cook the cranberries any longer than 15 minutes, or pectin will start to break down and the sauce will not set as well.
4. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a mold, or storage jar.
5. Allow to chill for at least 6 hours before serving.
Have any easy go-to recipes for the holidays? I’d love to see them.
Happy November, all you lovely people! I hope your holidays are filled with joy.
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It’s a simple fact of life: cowboys eat beef. Period. Even turkeys know the lowdown.
Of course, the turkey isn’t so particular. He’ll clearly settle for the diner in question eating anything else. (Or maybe there’s a current barnyard gang war between fowl and swine of which I know nothing. Nothing. I swear. You won’t believe this, but a wild turkey walked through my yard while I was writing this. Cowgirl’s honor.) <– swallows hard
Back to the point at hand. Cowboys like beef. I learned early on that if I wanted to keep my Cowgirl Card, I’d figure out how to get beef on the table for the holidays–and I wanted to keep that card. I worked to darn hard to get earn it, and I wasn’t about to see it rendered invalid over a menu choice! So I learned to make beef a hundred different ways, and I found myself grateful for the education because beef was in regular supply.
My absolute favorite beef dish was (and is) brisket, but working on a ranch meant you didn’t always have time to smoke it properly. So I came up with a recipe (of sorts) that, time after time, delivered fantastic results and subsequent rave reviews. It can be modified to feed a family or a crowd, and it’s a set-it-and-forget-it meal. I imagine this is something Reagan would make around the Covington place on a pretty regular basis. Her love of the awesome cut is, after all, where her dog gets his name.
Kelli Ireland’s Buckaroo Brisket
1 full size brisket (5-9 lbs)
1 bottle of beer
1 bottle Claude’s Brisket Marinade
4-5 T onion powder
4 T garlic powder
1 T pepper
1 t salt
2 T Liquid Smoke
3 T canola oil
Long Probe Meat Thermometer
Day before cooking: Take your brisket out of the plastic and rinse it off well. Pat dry and set on a large jelly roll pan. Combine the onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper and Liquid Smoke in a small mixing bowl and mix well. It forms a gritty paste. Using the tablespoon, scoop half the mix onto the brisket. Thoroughly rub it in. Flip the brisket over and repeat using the remaining mix. Place coated brisket in a jumbo Ziploc bag and gently add the beer, 1/2 bottle of marinade and canola oil. Slice onion into rings and place half on top and half on bottom of the meat. Seal, put in fridge and spend the next 6 hours fending off the dogs as they try to lick your hands to the bone. (Good luck.)
Day of the meal: Pre-heat the oven to 250° F (not a typo). Move the brisket from the bag to a large aluminum baking pan, placing it fat side up. Pour the contents of the bag around the brisket and add water to ensure the brisket is 2/3 submerged. Cover the pan tightly with tin foil and stab the meat thermometer through the foil and halfway through the thickest part of the brisket. Place the pan the middle rack of the oven.
It will take a long time to cook the brisket–about 7-8 hours at such a low temperature for a full-sized cut–but you’re watching for the internal temperature to reach roughly 185-190 degrees. When it reaches temperature, remove it from the oven and, leaving it wrapped, let it rest for about an hour.
Finally, remove the thermometer and foil, pour the sauce off, remove what’s left of the onion and (this is important) slice the brisket across the grain. Serve immediately.
We served ours in long, medium-thick slices with our favorite BBQ sauce, ranch-style chili beans, potato salad, broccoli salad, slaw, Cowboy Rolls (recipe coming soon!) and wrapped the meal up with Chuckwagon Cobbler (recipe also coming soon!). Aaaand…now I’m hungry.
COWBOY PROUD releases in print tomorrow (woot!) and I’m thrilled to share Cade’s story with you. Leave me a comment about your favorite Thanksgiving dish and I’ll let random.org choose two lucky winners to receive signed copies of the first and second books plus a few goodies for the holidays. The contest is only open one week, closing November 23, so I may attempt to get the books to the winners for the US’s long weekend!
Winners of the previous contest: Tambra and Laurie. I’ll be reaching out to you to get your mailing addresses. Congratulations!
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ello, everyone! I’m excited to introduce myself. My name’s Karen Rock and I’m a new Blaze author. As I’m staring at my opening lines to this blog, I’m still not completely sure if I’ve imagined all of this. Perhaps Kathleen will shoot me a politely worded email reminding me that she’s never, in fact, heard of me…? Worse, she’ll resend her rejection letter of my upcoming US Coast Guard series, No Defenses?
Ah! Pinch test… check.
Okay. Breathing again. So, I’m not dreaming this and it’s all coming true. I couldn’t be more thrilled to join a romance line that I’ve admired for years. You see, I eagerly (and sometimes impatiently- patience- not my strong point) anticipated each of my sister-in-law, and YA romance co-author, Joanne Rock’s Blaze releases. I adored her sexy, romantic stories with strong heroes and the gutsy heroines who went toe-to-toe (and in other positions- ahem) with them. Through her, I discovered other fabulous Blaze authors I look forward to meeting at Nationals one day.
So. How did I go from superfan to author? Simple. Okay. Not simple at all. Waaaaaay more complicated, but worth every step on this fabulous journey. You see, I was teaching full-time, as an 8th grade English instructor when Joanne and I shared one of our decadent lunches at Luenigs in Burlington, VT. We’re talking, a select your own cheeses platter, pairing it with something sparkling and following it up with melt-in-your-mouth, liquor-infused chocolate truffles. Yes. We were more than a little giddy when we began bouncing the idea around of writing a YA romance series together and our bestselling series, CAMP BOYFRIEND was born.
Although I’d grown up on a steady diet of Harlequin Presents books from my grandmother, I’d never contemplated writing an adult romance. Yet when our agent, Barbara Rosenburg, sent out a list serve email from Victoria Curren, asking for submissions for a new line, Heartwarming, an idea instantly formed. My neighbors had a love story that’d always inspired me: How to love someone when tomorrow wasn’t guaranteed. Using their real romance as inspiration, I sent my idea to Barbara, went to lunch, taught the rest of the afternoon, then opened my email at the end of the day to see that she’d forwarded it to Victoria, who loved it, wanted to see more and thus, my Harlequin journey began.
Everything seemed smooth sailing until I received an email from my incredible editor Laura Barth. My heart stopped when I read the opening lines of her email that she was leaving Heartwarming for Blaze. I opened my mouth to shout, “take me with you!!” when her very next sentence said, “I’m taking you with me.” Lol.
Sweet relief. I adore working with Laura and together we’ve collaborated on my six published Heartwarming novels, including two that have won the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, The Golden Quill, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence and this year’s Bookseller’s Best in contemporary fiction, long.
When I mentioned that I was working on a sexier WIP, Laura suggested I send it to her. Hopes high, I sent my three chapters and an outline for the series. I waited, hoping, praying, eating too many bags of veggie chips (is fifteen too much?), and got rejected. Sigh* The upside was, no one fired me from writing… I had fingers. A laptop. No one could take that away from me. (Cue Gone with the Wind music) Another year passed as I worked on an entirely different concept with Laura, submitting one, two, then a final version of my Coast Guard series until she was satisfied that it would meet the exacting standards of a Blaze series. And I’d expect nothing less.
Anchor Me, Book One in my No Defenses series is out September 2016 and can’t come soon enough. In the meantime, I’ll be stopping by to say howdy to everyone from month to month. If you’d like to know more about me and my books, stop by my website at http://www.karenrock.com or follow me on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/karenrock5 or Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/karenrockauthor . It’s so nice to meet you all and join the family
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So, there’s nothing more important that I could share than to make sure you guys know that all the Harlequin backlist is on sale for a $1.99 starting today until Nov. 17. On all the major ebook retail sites. You can get all of our Blazes, and any other Harlequin series you can think of. That means you can buy some of my back list like “Her Last Best Fling” and “Mission Seduction” for just $1.99. How crazy is that?
BUT one thing you may not know is that you can gift ebooks to your friends. As long as you know their email, you can email them a book. All you have to do is click on the Give As Gift button and then fill out the information. I do this ALL the time. Not just with my own books. Sometimes I get so excited about books I’ve read, I want everyone to read them, so I give them to my friends. You can even set the delivery date for whenever you want. So you could buy the book on sale, but then have it delivered Christmas Eve.
And I don’t mean to sound like a commercial for Harlequin, but this is a great deal for readers. It’s all in celebration of their 10 years of ebooks. And it starts today. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m going to do some holiday shopping over the next seven days.
For all you Americans out there, I want to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. I think you should spend time with family, eat a lot and then curl up with a great book. Harlequin is making it very easy to do the book thing this year.
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December 1! I still can’t believe it’s actually happening and just around the corner. My first ever physical, paper, book in hand book.
Keep your eye peeled for Dec 2 as I’ll be doing a Facebook party with a bunch of amazing authors. There’ll be giveaways, books and fun and excerpts. I hope you come and join us. I have two FB pages one under Shana Gray and the other is my author profile page Shana Gray – Author
More Than A Fling is hot, verrrry hot. I’ve written erotic romance for a few years now (under a different author name) so I’m no stranger to *the hot stuff* I’ve touched on BDSM, written femdom (female dominatrix), voyeurism, outdoor play times, one night stands and sex club stories to name a few. My Blaze is hot, yep, and why I guess it’s Unrated. I’m good with that My mom read one of my earlier stories and I was a bit nervous about it. She said “That was a nice story. A little sexy.” A LITTLE? We lost mom 3 years ago this December so…. I gave dad a copy of my Blaze. He wanted one to show around the seniors home. If you get it you will see the dedication to him.
The other day I visited dad and saw the book was on a side table by his chair. Did that mean he’d read it? A few minutes later we had this conversation.
Dad: I haven’t read your book yet
Me, relieved: That’s okay. It’s very sexy
Me, concerned: You don’t have to read it you know. It’s rather explicit, with uhm specific words and situations. It’s VERY sexy
Dad: That’s okay. I don’t mind.
Me to myself: oh sh*t
So now I’m all caught up in wondering if he will or will not read it. I don’t think I should be concerned but I am a little bit. It makes me wonder how porn stars do it. You know, if their family watches their movies.
So if my dad does read it and tells me. I’ll let you know how it goes. One day I’ll name a character after him. Henry is a great name! He’s going to be 93 in March. Oh, and I am writing is WWII story, which I need to make a priority. A Polish boy forced to fight for the Germans.
In the meantime. I’d love it if you hopped over to my webpage and signed up for my newsletter. I’ll be putting my first one out around release date. Click here to opt in.
And for a complete list of all my books available right now, please click over to my Books page on my website.
Since I won’t be back here until December, Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends! gobble gobble
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Posted by Kathleen Scheibling in Blaze Authors, Editorial Musings, Giveaway, Kate Hoffman, Kathleen Scheibling, Kimberly Van Meter, Kira Sinclair, Liz Talley, Stefanie London, tags: Books, Christmas, giveaway, Harlequin, holidays, reading, sexy romance
Zombie costume put away—check. Face stuffed with chocolate—check. Raking up fallen leaves twice a day—double check. Hmm, it must be the days right after Halloween. What’s next? Oh, yeah, the holidays! We’re only a few weeks away from the beginning of the holiday season, and we’re getting a start on the festivities here at Blaze. November gives us two sexy holiday books, just to ease you in. So whether you feel like getting your Christmas on early, or not, we’ve got something for all!
First up, the mighty Kate Hoffmann! We know you love Kate’s ongoing miniseries about the Quinns, and THE MIGHTY QUINNS: MAC is a great addition. Luke “Mac” Mackenzie has no past. Orphaned at twelve, he doesn’t remember his real name or why his parents were on the run. The name “Aileen Quinn” means nothing to him. Why would it? One name that does mean something to him is Emma Bryant, a woman who’s looking for a night of passion…and Mac is going to make sure it’s with him. The problem is there’s nothing casual about the heat between them… And she may just be the woman who will lead him to his real family. Find out what happens in Kate’s latest!
You’re familiar with our The Wrong Bed stories—get ready to mix the sexiness with some Christmas heat! This 2-in-1 book doubles your Wrong Bed pleasure with two novellas from two very hot authors. Kimberly Van Meter’s “Ignited” is hilarious and super-sexy at the same time. Alexis Matheson thinks she’s just having an amazing dream until she realizes there really is a sinfully gorgeous firefighter in her bed! And in Liz Talley’s “Where There’s Smoke,” Emma Rose finds herself in the same situation—with her best friend’s irresistible older brother. Add in a snowstorm and you’ll see sparks fly in these two connected stories. Firefighters, mistaken identities and Christmas…oh, my! Be sure to read A WRONG BED CHRISTMAS to start your season off right.
Looking for a too-hot-to-handle military man? Kira Sinclair wraps up her SEALs of Fortune miniseries with UNDER PRESSURE, featuring Asher Reynolds, a movie-star-handsome former SEAL who can’t keep his hands off Kennedy Duchane. Kennedy is helming a documentary about Asher’s diving company. They are supposed to be all business, but neither of them can resist the pleasure they bring each other. What started out as a naughty distraction has turned into something far deeper…something strong enough to sweep even the strongest SEAL out to sea! Kira always writes an intense love story—and I’m sure you’re going to fall for this one.
And finally, a Blaze debut by Stefanie London! Stefanie has written for Harlequin Presents and Harlequin Kiss, and she brings her sexy A-game for her first Blaze. This title is rated “R” for sure, and also tells a page-turning story with a bit of suspense. Jewelry designer Rose Lawson doesn’t think she needs a bodyguard, but Max Ridgeway knows differently. An Aussie in New York, Max has something to prove—including proving to Rose that she needs him. Rose quickly finds out that having a hot bodyguard in your house on a cold winter’s night can come in very handy… This charming Christmas story sizzles, as well as warms the heart. Look for more Dangerously Sexy books from Stefanie soon!
At Blaze, we’re dedicated to keeping you warm this winter, and we hope you enjoy our November books. Tell me which cover is your favorite and I’ll enter you in a draw to win all four titles. Until next month!
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I love my job.
Every day I get to write about hunky heroes, swoon-worthy kisses and all kinds of other sexy things. One of my favourite bits of the whole process is getting my cover. Even though I deal with words, I’m a really visual person (hence why I have Pinterest boards for all my books!) and seeing a new cover for the first time is so rewarding.
So, imagine my delight when I went to the Harlequin head offices here in Toronto and my lovely editor presented me with a very large version of my A Dangerously Sexy Christmas cover!
Best. Job. Ever.
Max & I after our subway ride..
The poster stands over a meter tall, which posed a fun challenge. How was I going to get this sexy hunk of a cover home on the subway? (Yeah, I still haven’t switched my Australian driver’s license for a Canadian one. Driving on the other side of the road looks scary!!)
Max and I got a few funny looks from my fellow Torontonian commuters, not to mention a few appreciative glances from the ladies. I don’t blame them, he’s a
total hottie. When I got the cover home safe and sound, I propped it up on a little desk in my bedroom just to see what my husband would say. He wasn’t too sure that having a giant cover model over-looking our bed was a great idea.
So now Max is sitting in my writer’s nook, keeping me company while I work which I think is the perfect spot for him.
A 2006 Jill Shalvis Blaze cover.
Touring the Harlequin offices and see where all the magic happens behind the scenes, was a great experience! As a writer, it’s easy to sometimes feel like you (and your work) exists in a bubble. So meeting all the people who have a hand in turning out Harlequin’s books was very enlightening.
My favourite part of the tour was meeting the Art Director and seeing how the covers are made. They start with a setof character and scene descriptions, create a sketch of the cover and then create the design from there. Sometimes this involves building a set for the photoshoot, sometimes it involves dealing with animals and babies (or both!) and then taking the photos and turning them into the gorgeous covers that are loved by Harlequin authors and readers alike.
The editor’s offices are lines with books and I got to see the progression of covers from the older-style Blazes right up to the covers we see on shelves today. It’s incredible how the look of books has changed over the years!
This made it even more exciting when I got a sneak peek at the cover for my April 2016 release, A Dangerously Sexy Affair. I’ll give you a hint; there’s plenty more abs to come!
So now I’m back home and super excited to start work on my third book for Blaze, which will be another Dangerously Sexy book. In the meantime, A Dangerously Sexy Christmas will be out in a few days time! If you want to check it out, there’s a sneek peek at the first chapter on my website.
I’m curious, what’s your favourite type of romance novel cover? Do you like the abs shot, a kissing or clinching couple, something with lots of background? Let me know if you have a favourite.
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I’m deep into the final few chapters of my next Blaze. The working title is Tropical Fever and it’s the third in my Fever trilogy. This one is about Neil the SEAL’s buddy, Navy SEAL Clay. Some of the story takes place in Switzerland and I had to do a lot of research–poor me–about this beautiful country surrounded by the Alps. (Including eating fondue-yum!) so, in lieu of telling you about what I learned I thought I’d just share a bunch of pictures that inspired me for this book. Kind of like Pinterest, but here. Enjoy!
Any of y’all ever been to Switzerland? Anything I should know to incorporate into my book?
Inspiration for my heroine, Gabby
Inspiration for my hero, Navy SEAL, Clay
Hotel Palace Lucerne
a gondola ride to the Alps-in which Clay and gabby may make love…
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Fall means many things to many people. Back to school. Leaf peeping. Halloween. Here at Casa Kyle, it means . . .
I’m a huge Yankee fan. Sadly, they were eliminated in the one-game wildcard playoff. So I’ve been rooting for the “other” home team, the Miracle Mets, and the Blue Jays, on behalf of all my Blaze friends in Toronto. (For those of you who didn’t know, Harlequin has offices in New York, London and Toronto, and the Blaze line is based out of Toronto.)
The Amazings are still hanging in there, on there way to the World Series for the first time in years. Sadly, all my rooting couldn’t help the Blue Jays, who were eliminated last night by the Kansas City Royals.
I’ve been watching a bit more of the games this year than I usually do once my Yanks are out, probably because I’m in the final throes of writing a baseball book now. Triple Score (working title – we haven’t settled on one for sure yet) features the fourth and final Nelson sibling, Noelle, and baseball bad-boy Jace Monroe, a shortstop with a sleeve full of tats and and attitude to match. It’s my first foray into the big leagues but hopefully not my last, as Jace has two buddies: the rest of his double play combo, first baseman Reid Montgomery and second baseman Cooper Morgan. I picture them kind of like this:
So what do you think? Wanna read these hotties’ stories? Triple Score will be out in July of 2016. No dates yet for Reid and Cooper.
Oh, and one last thing – the winner from my post last month of Triple Time in their choice of paperback or e-book is . . . Laurie! Congrats, Laurie. Expect an email from me in your mailbox.
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I don’t know about you, but what I want to do more than anything at this time of year is put spices into things. Mulled wine, mulled cider, apple pie, even a little cardamom and cinnamon in my Saturday morning pancakes. There’s something about spice that goes with the bright autumn leaves and chilly air.
(I’m going to resist making a pun about spiciness and Blaze here. I’m only just managing to resist, though. Be proud of me.)
So I’d like to share with you my absolute favourite mulled cider recipe, by Canadian chef Michael Smith (a guy who could feature as a Blaze hero, in my opinion).
I met him once. He’s like nine feet tall.
This uses more than a little alcohol, but you can make an alcohol free version by substituting the white wine for apple or other fruit juice. The spice blend sounds strange at first, but trust me, it adds depth and intense flavour. I love having a pot of this on the stove when I’m hosting parties from October on through the winter. It makes my home smell amazing!
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
8 cups fresh apple cider
a few cinnamon sticks
several bay leaves
1-2 branches fresh rosemary
splash vanilla extract
1 bottle chardonnay
Place sugar in a tight pile in the centre of a large saucepot – large enough to hold the cider and the wine. Pour the water around it and begin heating the works over high heat. Don’t stir or shake the pot! The sugar mixture will quickly form a syrup and come to a boil. Continue simmering as the water boils away. When the syrup begins to brown around the edges, swirl it gently until the resulting caramel turns a beautiful golden brown.
Working quickly, and carefully, add the cider to shock the caramel and prevent it from further browning. It will spatter, so be careful. Bring entire mixture to a simmer.
Pierce the orange skin with the cloves, forming an even pattern, then add to the cider. Add cinnamon, bay leaves, rosemary and vanilla. Continue simmering for another 30 minutes or so, until the cider reduces by a third. Add an extra shot of brandy, rum, or Port for even more flavor.
I get Graham to clove the orange. He’s very methodical.
Add the wine and bring the mixture back to a simmer. Serve immediately in a festive mug. Garnish each serving with a fresh rosemary sprig and a cinnamon stick.
Breathe in the pure joy.
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