Friday Sinema: Turtle Soup

Happy Friday and yes, I’m back to critters because…well, I am. #ThisMadeMeLaugh because the female lion is all “Whatever…” and the male is “WTF?!?!?!” Have an awesome weekend. And be the turtle. 😉

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Thursday Thoughts: Universal Implications

Every morning brings something new and oftimes crazy. Because that’s the world right now. In betwseen scratching my head and it exploding, I manage to get through the day by writing. This message from the Universe showed up not long ago and it struck a chord.

Silver, would there be any point in giving you the gift of imagination, the freedom to think as you choose, and dreams that set your soul on fire if even a single one of them couldn’t come true?

I think not.

I love you too, too much.

The Universe

Silver, think of the implications.

My imagination is my saving grace these days. I can dive into my made-up worlds with my made-up characters and dream their stories, writing them down and making them sound cool so others might want to read their stories too. In addition, despite a huge effort by some, I still have the right and ability to think for myself, to think what I want to think. And I can dream. Oh, baby, can I!?! Not sure if they can still come true under current conditions. But hey, they’ll be there. They won’t die and maybe someday…the possibility is there. In the meantime, the implications are amazing!

This is part of the attitude that makes a writer. We don’t give up on dreams and thoughts and imaginations. In fact, we rely on them. And you know what? I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. Even on the really-REALLY bad days. So thanks, Universe. I love you too.

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Wednesday Words: Jumbled Up

Wednesday, Hump Day. Time-to-share-a-snippet day. Today’s THEME is a bit of a **JUMBLE** but I managed to JUMBLE a bunch of words together to produce a snippet for your enjoyment. As a set-up, I will only say that Sade and the Scooby Gang are on the trail of the bad guy…
Sade unlocked the door and pushed it open. Pistol in hand, she went high and Caleb went low. This was probably overkill, considering she was with the four monsterteers. Sinjen, Roman, and Nikos stood back, watching. And probably smirking. She didn’t care. She was in charge and they were doing this by the book. So by the book, their entry had been postponed until a federal judge signed the search warrant.

A few lights set at odd angles gave a ghostly glow to the space. She checked nooks and crannies, following Caleb’s lead. “Anything?” she whispered.

He shook his head. “Nothing. No one is here.”

Lights flickered on overhead. She glanced back. Nikos stood by a light switch. She’d been told this was an art gallery. What spread around them was a jumble of…stuff. Statues? Twisted metal…sculptures? She had no clue what to call half this stuff. There were paintings though. Stuff perched on shelves, pedestals, easels, the floor.

One painting caught her attention. She approached and stood about four feet away from it. Head tilting this way and that, Sade studied the painting—a surrealistic mishmash of…tulips? She glanced at the title card: Across the Atlantic. Well, that made sense. Not. What did tulips have to do with the Atlantic? What was most of this junk? Avant garde, she reminded herself. No one was supposed to understand this crap.

Roman’s voice drifted over. “She’s feeling guilty.”

“There’s no reason.” Caleb was quick to refute the gargoyle.

“Were you not attacked? While you were with your mate. Who is human and therefore vulnerable.”

“It’s not her fault.”

The voice of the werewolf, who was both her FBI partner and her foster brother, pulled her back to reality. They were rehashing a conversation they’d had on the drive over. Family. Damn straight she was pissed at Trane for going after her family.

“But you are not related to her,” Nikos said.

“Family isn’t blood. Not always. Sometimes, family is what we make it,” Caleb said.

“When did you get so fu-reaking sentimental?” Sade amended her curse before Roman or Sinjen could express disapproval. Jeez. Gargoyles could be so fucking judgmental and she was convinced Sinjen did it just to aggravate her.

A song played in her head. Gypsies, tramps, and thieves made for interesting family values. She’d learned that families came in all shapes and sizes. Her gaze hit this motley crew—vampire, gargoyle, werewolf, and that damned infernal dragon. The only one missing was the fae who drove her crazy. Why the hell did Nikos keep showing up? Beyond his desire to get into her pants. Sade snorted. Yeah, like that had a fucking chance in a hell frozen over. Where the hell was Ariel? He was always around when she didn’t want him underfoot. Except for now. She glanced at Sinjen, who stood aloof from the discussion. She caught her hand mid-gesture as it rose to rub the ache in her chest. Forcing the now-fisted hand into her pocket, she worked hard to shove the damn doubts and uncertainty from her mind. He’d left her but he came back, she reminded her heart.

None of this mattered. She had a job to do. Villains to catch and put in jail. Crimes to solve. People to protect—magick and mundane alike.

Family isn’t blood. Except it was. Blood. Sweat. Tears. And she would shed every drop of hers to keep her family safe. She knew what she had to do. The only obstacle to her plan involved the four Magicks who’d come to stand beside her, also staring at the painting until it began to resemble a stained-glass window. Glamour.

“Do you see it?” she whispered.
And there you have a peek into the current action. This is from Chapter 37 but there are no real spoilers here. Anyone familiar with the books knows how Sade feels. She’s like me that way. Family can be blood but it can also be by choice. The family we choose with our hearts is just as important as those we share DNA with. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it. What about y’all? Writers, any jumble words? Readers, what book is on top of your jumbled TBR pile?

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Tuesday Treats: Creamy Shrimp Alfredo

I’m a huge fan of pasta. And shrimp. Add them together with a creamy sauce? I’m sooo there! This recipe is quick and doesn’t heat up the kitchen so it’s good for year-round enjoyment.

Total Time: 25 Min.
25 Min(s) Prep and Cook
4 servings 1 1/4 cup each
Learn to make a restaurant-quality dish with our Creamy Shrimp Alfredo recipe. This Creamy Shrimp Alfredo features hints of parsley and balsamic vinaigrette. Depth of flavor this good is not only achievable, but ready in less than half an hour. Success is delicious.

What You Need
1/2 lb. linguine, uncooked
2 Tbsp. KRAFT Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
1/2 lb. uncooked deveined peeled medium shrimp
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz. (3/4 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, cubed
3/4 cup fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Let’s Make It
1 – Cook pasta as directed on package, omitting salt.
2 – Meanwhile, heat dressing in Large Skillet on medium heat. Add shrimp; cook and stir 2 to 3 min. or until shrimp turn pink, adding garlic for the last minute. Remove shrimp from skillet with slotted spoon, reserving liquid in skillet; set shrimp aside. Add cream cheese and broth to reserved liquid in skillet; cook 3 to 5 min or until cream cheese is completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring frequently. Stir in shrimp and 3 Tbsp. Parmesan.
3 – Drain pasta. Add to shrimp mixture; mix lightly. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and parsley.

Kitchen Tips
Tip 1 – Healthy Living: Save 50 calories and 6g of fat, including 3g of saturated fat, per serving by preparing with KRAFT Lite Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing and PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese.

Tip 2 – Serving Suggestion: Serve with a mixed green salad and your favorite fresh fruit to round out the meal.

CLICK HERE to head over to My Food and Family to get all the nutritional details. Someone who is totally on board with this quick-fix yummy dinner is Geneva Pruitt, the heroine of NIGHT WISH. Even Wizard admits it’s pretty good stuff, but what would a wolf shifter know since it’s not beef? 😉 Gen is a curvy girl and reminds Wiz that her love of pasta is partially responsible. He just grins and stalks her across the kitchen. While life is good now, it wasn’t always that way. You can read their story in NIGHT WISH by clicking on the cover or the title. You’ll end up at Books2Read where you can find the link to your favorite on-line bookstore. What about y’all? Shrimp and pasta or do you prefer a different mix?

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Just Another Monday

today's goals Monday has rolled around again. Yesterday was Mother’s Day. That can be good or bad, depending. My mother passed years ago, and my mother-in-law years before that. That sort of makes me the matriarch of the family. Which is weird because I’m not much of that. My sister-in-law’s (the cool one on LG’s side) mom is still with us and she’s a hoot. We gatthered at the BiL/SiL’s yesterday for burgers and dogs and no stress/no drama. That meant only select members of the family attended but hey, it was good food, good company, and the drama llamas stayed home.

The only real news I have to report is that later today I’ll be doing a cover reveal on my FB author’s page. And speaking of writing, last week was a good one! Lots of words, lots of action, lots of the story moving toward the climax and The End. With luck–and if I figure out what to do with the villain when he gets caught–I’ll be ready for first edits later this week. Once that is done, it’ll go to betas and my editor. I’ll continued to tweak while waiting on their verdicts, plus getting it set up to format. I’m still thinking close to 85K words, which is about 1/3 more than I normally write. Anyway, fingers crossed.

In sports, my OSU Cowgirls defeated the #1 OU Sooners in the first game of their 3-game series. Sadly, OU cam back and won the next two games but the Cowgirls played them close. I was really hoping they’d win at least 2 of the 3 games, which would have handed them the Big 12 Championship. Ah, well. They’re still likely to get a regional and I’m really hoping to see them in the Women’s College World Series. In other sports news, the Cardinals are on a small streak. They’re leading the NL Central and swept the Rockies over the weekend. Up next is the Brewers on Tuesday.

Don’t have much to say about TV other than baseball! And softball! I keep falling asleep during other TV at night, and I usually don’t turn it on until dinner time and then after KP duty and time-for-bed time. Oh, on the family front, Stormy came over Saturday afternoon, spent the night, and went home after MD’s lunch at the in-laws. His new favorite streaming show is some Lego Ninja cartoon thing. I didn’t have to watch near as much as LG but at dinner, I said time for something different so we watched Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. It was corny, had great cameos, and I cried at the end while laughing just a little.

Reading was slow too, mainly because new words on the WIP! And, partly because I’m in a weird headspace funk. I finally settled in with Katee Robert’s O’Malley family series. Set in Boston, it revolves around 3 Irish mob families, plus a Russian interloper from New York City. (New York City!?!?! It’s made in…. Okay, squirrel and Pace Picanti has probably scarred me for life. 🤣 ) Anyway, I’m about finished with the second book and I’ll head into the 3rd  when I’m done. Apparently, the last time I read them was like 2017-18. She’s an excellent writer when it comes to emotional arcs and some serious angst (as opposed to the teen-aged stuff that’s mostly just silly.).

So, that’s my world currently. How are things in your neck of the woods?

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Friday Free-for-All

What is a Friday Free-All-All? These are the Fridays when I share the interesting and sometimes odd things I’ve collected over time. There are picture layouts to click over to. There are not-so-deep thoughts to ponder. FYI, links open in a new tab on your browser so you can go look and not worry about finding the next link. Because I’m all helpful like that. 🤣 So, here we go with this week’s edition…

Things that keep me awake at night:

  • Why are there Interstate Highways in Hawaii?
  • Does the word “ambiguous” have more than one meaning?
  • Why is it called quick sand when it sucks you down slowly?
  • These photos are amazing. You definitely want to check them out. WOODLAND ANIMALS straight from a Disney movie.

    In keeping with the whole cute and magical theme, check out these FAIRY TALE SQUIRRELS.

    THESE FACTS (and awesome photos) about animals is important information. Trivia, but important!

    On a darker but fascinating note, CLICK HERE for the story of an adoptee who, while searching for her birth parents, helps solve a 40-year-old cold case. I’m tucking this into my files for future reference.

    Have any cool things to share? And deep thoughts to ponder? Have a great weekend! And Happy Mothers’ Day to all those who fulfill that role! ❤

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    Thursday Thoughts: Universal Tip

    I’m soooo close to typing The End with this book. Just an update and no promises, but the WIP might be ready for editing soon. Last week, I talked about quality and creating a story that I’d want to read, then hoping I find readers who want the same. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I started writing. I wanted stories that I wanted to read about characters that I wanted to know and/or be. While I may never be a legend, the Universe has some good advice, and the same applies to writing a book.

    A tip on Legend Making:

    Instead of waiting for something better, Silver, create it.

    Keep the change,
    The Universe

    Don’t you love a good double entendre, Silver, Silver?

    I write romance. Double entendres are my stock and trade. 😉 What will you create today? Me? I’m going to create a Happy Ever After.

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    Wednesday Words: Flower Power

    Another week, another Wednesday, and more WIP words. Today’s #1lineWed THEME is **FLOWERS** which goes with the month of May. You know that old chestnut, right? April showers bring May flowers. What to Mayflowers bring? …   …  *drum roll* PILGRIMS! Sorry. I couldn’t resist. Anyway, today’s snippet is short. It’s the beginning of a chapter, it ends on a little hook and anything more is a spoiler so…
    Sade didn’t dream. Well, she probably did—all humans did. She just didn’t remember hers. Except this time. Because she had to be dreaming. She lived a crazy, fucked-up life and it had been crazier and more fucked up lately, but this? This was beyond the pale. Everywhere she turned, giant sunflowers blotted out a sky so blue it dazzled her eyes.

    “Toto, we aren’t in Kansas anymore,” she muttered. She glanced around looking for her version of Dorothy’s intrepid canine companion. There was no sign of Caleb. She muttered some curses under her breath. This was a dream, right? Why in fucking hell would Caleb share her dreamscape?

    “Think.” There had been a dream. Sinjen, in the armor of a Templar knight, standing on a beach in full sunshine. She woke up in the middle of an ancient stone circle. She’d walked…

    She wriggled her toes, discovered she wore a favorite pair of serviceable leather boots. At least these boots were made for walking…

    “Nope,” she decreed. “I’m not letting that particular earworm invade my head. There’s too much shit already fucking with me.”

    She’d walked a mile or so and found a village with a train station. And now she was on a train. Fuck her. She had not had the best of luck with trains recently.

    Turning in a circle, Sade picked a random direction and started walking. A playful breeze ruffled her hair and danced through the leaves and stalks of the colorful flowers. She caught a glimpse of black fur slinking along the next row. The cat was back.
    Here, kitty-kitty-kitty. *bwa-ha-ha-ha* I am happy to note that I’ve complete 4 chapters since Sunday. Aaannddd, I’ve figured out where some orphan scenes belong (toward the end of the book) and am tooling along toward typing The End. All I have to figure out is how the bad guy actually gets his. In other news, I’m also laying groundwork for future books in the series. It’s a win-win. I will note that I still have no clue who the black cat is. And with that thought, back to work. Except I’m supposed to ask a question because all the social media gurus insist that doing so engages readers and gets them to interact. So, that’s my quesiton! If a blogger/poster asks a question, are more or less likely to comment.

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    Tuesday Treats & Titles: Margarita Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

    This recipe was mentioned in an article as a way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Me? I’m a big fan of margaritas AND ice cream sandwiches so I’m thinking this could be a yummy treat for the entire summer. Don’t freak over the total time. That’s so the cookie dough chills before you slice it. Depending on your fridge, could be less time but sticky dough NEEDS to be chilled. Trust me on this. 😉 Also, after you put the sandwiches together with the ice cream, they need to go into the freezer to firm up so…sorta plan on making one day and enjoying the next. But hey! Yummy ice cream sandwiches!

    Recipe details
    Yield: 16 servings
    Total time: 7 Hrs. 37 Min.
    Prep time: 27 Min.
    Cook time: 10 Min.

    1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
    1 cup sugar
    1 large egg
    5 teaspoons grated lime rind divided
    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/8 teaspoon table salt
    1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
    1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

    2 cups vanilla reduced-fat ice cream softened
    2 cups lime sherbet softened

    1 – Place butter and sugar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.

    2 – Add egg, 1 tablespoon lime rind, and lime juice; beat 2 minutes or until well combined.

    3 – Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.

    4 – Combine flour, baking powder, and 1/8 teaspoon table salt; stir with a whisk.

    5 – Add flour mixture to butter mixture, and beat just until combined.

    6 – Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Shape each portion into a 6-inch log. Wrap logs individually in plastic wrap; chill 3 hours or until firm.

    7 – Preheat oven to 350°.

    8 – Cut each log into 16 (about 1/3-inch-thick) slices, and place 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

    9 – Sprinkle the cookies evenly with remaining 2 teaspoons lime rind, turbinado sugar, and sea salt.

    10 – Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

    11 – Cool for 2 minutes on pans on a wire rack. Remove from baking sheets, and cool completely on wire rack.

    1 – Place softened vanilla ice cream and sherbet in a medium bowl; lightly fold and swirl together.

    2 – Scoop 1/4 cup ice cream mixture onto bottom of one cookie, and top with one cookie.
    Cover each sandwich with plastic wrap; freeze 4 hours or until firm.

    My Tips:
    1 – Turnado sugar is basically light brown sugar so you can substitute that. Sugar in the Raw brand offers actual turnado sugar and it’s available at my local Target superstore. I haven’t checked Walmart or the local grocery but I’ll be adding it to my grocery list because I am totally making these!

    Someone wants to know if we could actually add a dollop of tequila into the dough…or the ice cream. Hrm…I wonder who that might be?* 🤔 You can CLICK OVER to the recipe to get an illustrated (with pictures) explanation of the process. The heroine who jumped on the bandwagon first and offered to make a batch of these goodies was the ever-adventurous Sam Prescott Cross, mate of Nightrider Easy Cross. And she might just make two batches–one for the kids and one for the old ladies. I should add that she smacked Easy’s hand every time he wandered into the kitchen and tried to filch a cookie. I suspect that the same happened when she caught him digging through the freezer. In case you haven’t caught their story, Sam arrives to claim her nephew and neice, who are under the Nightriders’ protection. There are bad things in store, but she’s stubborn and when a Wolf and his mate are fated to be, not even hell or high water will stand between them. You can read their story in NIGHT SHIFT. Just click on the title or the cover to head over to Books2Read to find the link to your preferred on-line store. What do y’all think? Tequila or straight?

    *The answer would be: Every last one of my heroines! What can I say? 🤦🏼‍♀️

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    Rose-colored Monday

    coffee's monday truthI looked out my office window yesterday and found two roses blooming. I hadn’t even noticed the buds. This particular rose bush is old. It was in the flowerbed when we moved in over 20 years ago. I’ve managed not to kill it. Pretty hardy little plant for sure. The blooms are a beautiful pink and ivory blend and the perfume is divine. If it weren’t for my sinuses and storms, I’d love Spring.

    There was a week and a weekend. Stuff happened, some interesting, some a little boring. I’ll try to leave out the boring but this might be really short if I do. 😉

    Writing was good. I’ve added several chapters to the whole. I start Chapter 30 this morning and it looks like I’ve finally hit The Black Moment™. That’s always fun! And it means that things really start happening hot and heavy and The End is almost in sight.

    My OSU Cowgirls swept Texas. Yay! Not sure when the new rankings come out but they should move up. OU was off this weekend and remain at #1. It also looks like the Cowgirls are in line for a regional tournament. Yay! Also, my Cards swept the Pirates. They play the Mets tonight and I hope they can get a win for Adam Wainwright, the starting pitcher. As a writer, I ❤ his name. He sounds like a hero and it doesn’t hurt that he’s handsome and one of the good guys and is TOTALLY heroic.

    Nothing to really note on TV or reading/listening. I haven’t caught up with the DVR because baseball’s on. The “Secrets of Skinwalker Ranch” returns this week so there’s that. I did start a book I hadn’t read in literally years. Long story. I’ll try to make it short. Smart Bitches is a romance book blog. Readers who are looking for romance novels they can’t remember the title or author so they ask if any of the “Bitchery” know what book it is because they want to reread it. It’s a thing to not only be the one to give the right answer but to get it in the very first comment. I NEVER know the answer. Heck, I read/reread 200 books a year (or more), and have since…like…forever. The reason I can reread a book is because I forget what happens. Mostly. Anyway. I. Got. One. RIGHT! And first! So, I grabbed the audio version from the library and started listening. I’ve sort of lost interest now, but I’m also writing a lot so there’s that too. Anyway, not sure if I’ll finish it because I’m remembering more about it as it goes along and it is full of this author’s particular brand of crazysauce.

    Saturday was First Saturday so siren test and Mexican food with the family. Yum! Also got Stormy time last Thursday though we had an incident with Jake, who got sick. I hit every construction zone and redlight getting the dog home. I won’t gross you out. LG took over dog medic duties and I ferried Stormy to his Snapology class. BTW, Jake is fine and was that night. The softball-sized clumb of regurgitated grass I found in the family room was evidence.

    Rumor has it I might have a new cover soon. Not holding my breath but I can’t wait. I suspect it’s going to be one of my favorites.

    And that, my friends, pretty much sums up my world at the moment. How’re things in your world?

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