Friday, December 20, 2019

New Release from Fantasy Romance Author Helen C. Johannes

Fellow Wild Rose Press author Helen C. Johannes joins me today with a look at some of her secondary characters in her new release, LORD OF DRUMARWIN. She also shares 5 quick things about herself which gives us a chance to get to know her better. Welcome Helen!

Secondary Characters

In Lord of Druemarwin I knew my hero’s mother would play a significant role, but I didn’t expect her to spring almost fully formed from her very first scene. Most of my characters reveal themselves as I write the story, deepening my understanding of their backstory and motivations, but Lady Vyenne jumped onto the page like Athena from Zeus’s head. I knew her; maybe that’s because she’s a mother, the first one I’ve committed to writing. Like me, she’s a problem-solver, a let’s-get-this-done person who knows what it’s like to grit her teeth and out-stubborn a stubborn child of any age. Unlike me, she’s rich, meddling, and politically shrewd. Her mantra is calm, control, discipline. And she’s running for her life.

Her sparring partner, and my other favorite secondary character, is my heroine’s slightly older brother Toth. His role is guardian, and he takes that to mean all family and soon-to-be family members come under that directive. He’s a sharp-eyed, simmering volcano whose own backstory is as messy as Vyenne’s. And he and his sister Raell, my heroine, love/hate each other as only close siblings can, at least according to my own children.

And then there’s my most fun to write minor character, the old healer Gam. She’s a practical woman whose philosophy about aging is, “A dozen wrinkles or a hundred, m’lady. Once you’ve got ‘em, no one notices more.” Her advice to Raell about defending herself: “Aim for the nose, lass. Hurts like the Demon, blinds ‘em a bit an’, Sisters willin’, drives a bit o’ bone into the brain,” is followed by a gap-toothed grin after they’ve just fended off an attacker. Old Gam’s occasional appearances provide some tongue-in-cheek perspective on the younger folks’ drama.

Helen's Quick Five:

- Beach vacation or sightseeing in the city? - Beach or cruise. Living land-locked, I’ve discovered an affinity for the calming effect of being at the water’s edge.

- Coffee or tea? – Tea ever since my first trip to England; I love Darjeeling, English Breakfast, Scottish Breakfast, and Assam teas.

- Pie or cake? What kind? – Honestly, anything homemade. Deep dish apple pie, rhubarb upside down cake, cherry chocolate cake, flourless chocolate cake, apple or peach Danish…

- Chocolate or caramel? – Dark chocolate sea salt caramel squares by Ghirardelli. Yum!

- E-book, paperback or audiobook? – E-book and print both. I’m a compulsive reader; if there are words, I’ll read them regardless of format.



In a world of lies and betrayal, can they trust each other?

Lady Raell can fight, ride, and argue politics as well as her brothers. Only being mistress of her father's household keeps her in skirts. In Naed, the new Lord of Druemarwin, she has found devotion, a kindred spirit, and a marriage promise. But when a forgotten and unwanted betrothal comes to light, she has no choice but to run.

Amidst sweeping revolution, Naed must rally his people, fend off assassination attempts, and fight against claims he's a traitor. Then he discovers everything about his lineage and family is a lie. And his beloved belongs to another.

With lives and a kingdom at stake, Raell and Naed must find a way to protect the innocent and save their love.


“Raell, now is not the time—”

Aye, it wasn’t. They stood in torchlight on an open parapet while assassins stalked them, but this might be her only chance to reach him across that precipice he’d thrown up between them, to secure the future they were meant to share.

“Does my honor mean naught? When weighed with D’nalian honor, is mine lesser because ‘tis a woman’s honor? Or because ‘tis a Tolemak’s honor? Be honest and tell me that.”

The world had gone silent; Raell could hear nothing over the rush of blood in her ears, the terrible heavy beats of her heart while she waited, dizzy with fear, breathless with longing, for the man she loved to respond with a word, a look, even a blink. Even a shift of his gaze she’d take as a sign he’d at least heard, mayhap begun to consider—

“Yes, be honest, Lord Naed,” said a voice she’d heard but once, a voice that raised all the fine hairs on her body and made her innards contract into a cold, tight knot. “Tell us both how much honor means to a bastard who’s betrayed his countrymen and his blood.”

Author Bio:

Helen C. Johannes writes award-winning fantasy romance inspired by the fairy tales she grew up reading and the amazing historical places she’s visited in England, Ireland, Scotland and Germany. She writes tales of adventure and romance in fully realized worlds sprung from pure imagination and a lifelong interest in history, culture, and literature. Warriors on horseback, women who refuse to sit idly at home, and passion that cannot be denied or outrun—that’s what readers will find in her books.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2019

CHARM ME AGAIN by Tena Stetler

I'm happy to have a visit from fellow Wild Rose Press author Tena Stetler. She's here to celebrate her newest release CHARM ME AGAIN, a paranormal romance. Take it away, Tena!

Charm Me Again was inspired by the characters not being finished with their story from Charm Me, published in 2016 as a 20,000 word novella.  I guess you could say I’m long winded because that story had only one story line when in fact there were more. Yet it was one of my best sellers. Summer’s dysfunctional family was left out entirely because I couldn’t do it justice. Her brother… well… you’ll see in Charm Me Again.

A scene in the book was created several years ago from my personal experience of hiking up the Hanging Lake trail in the pouring rain. Posted as an easy hike, it was anything but. Yep, they lied. Since that time the listing of the hike has been upgraded to moderate. You’ve never lived until you climb over large rain slickened rocks and boulders on an uphill trail gaining 1,000 feet in elevation over the mile climb. But oh my the view of a lake on the side of a mountain is breath-taking! We stayed and ate our packed lunch on the shore, enjoyed the scenery and other awe inspiring places around the lake. At the time, I knew Hanging Lake would become part of a book one day.  That day came as I was writing Charm Me Again. The background on the cover art is Hanging Lake. A better representation is on the meme included with this post.

What’s the story about you ask? Well, let me tell you a little about Charm Me Again, just released December 9, 2019.

For several months a Scottish Highland Ghost has haunted Daylan, in his personal life, his professional life and at his forge. Yet, being a talented warlock, he is no closer to discovering what the ghost wants or why he chose Daylan. A trip to his estranged sister’s home in Colorado may have unforeseen consequences especially when family history leads him to a shocking discovery.

As his attraction blooms for Josie, a yoga instructor in his sister’s studio, he realizes there may be more to Josie than he can imagine. When an ancient rogue Fae Warrior set on revenge kidnaps her in an attempt to claim her as his own, a devastating curse comes to light.

Daylan’s world spirals out of control as he searches for Josie. Can he break the age old curse to save her and their future, or will she be lost to him forever?

Buy Links:  AmazonBarnes & Noble, Kobo and Itunes 

A sneak peek between the pages of Charm Me Again:

As they climbed, the trail became steeper and rockier. He grabbed hold of the handrails assuming they were provided for oxygen-deprived people like him. How do people breathe up here? Until now he’d prided himself in being in excellent shape.

She turned and peeked over her shoulder. “You all right back there? We’re almost to the top.”

About damn time. Huffing out another breath, he leaned against a large boulder. The trail opened up and the Lake came into view. He sucked in a breath at the geologic wonder before his eyes. Suspended on the edge of Glenwood Canyon’s cliff, waterfalls spilled into a clear turquoise lake. Lush green plants trailed from the outcropping of rock on the walls surrounding the water was like nothing he’d ever seen. “This is absolutely unbelievable.”

She grinned. “Told you.” Grabbing his hand she tugged him to the boardwalk area surrounding part of the lake and plopped down. “Rest, we’ll eat our sandwiches and then I’ll show you around.”

“Sounds good.” He eased down on a rock and shrugged off his pack, opened it, and handed her a sandwich. He wolfed down his sandwich, chips and drank another bottle of water.

Suddenly, the wind changed direction, a thin maroon line formed along the flat bottom of the dark clouds spreading across the sky where moments before there’d been only a few fluffy cotton ball clouds in a sea of blue. The maroon line widened then switched to vertical and spread open to reveal a shimmering interior. Shadows emerged from the cloud then disappeared. As he was about to comment, huge raindrops plopped on the ground followed by pea size hail that grew to softball size.

Josie ran for cover and he followed. Protected under a ledge, she cupped her hands over her ears as the roaring of the storm combined with huge ice balls smashing against rocks echoed through the canyon. She elbowed him and cocked a brow in question, pointing to the vegetation that remained unharmed.

His eyes narrowed. Something isn’t right. I can feel it. Magic is spinning this storm. But who—how and why?

Author Bio:

Tena Stetler is a best-selling author of award winning paranormal romance. She has an over-active imagination, which led to writing her first vampire romance as a tween to the chagrin of her mother and delight of her friends. After many years as a paralegal, then an IT Manager, she decided to live out her dream of pursuing a publishing career.

With the Rocky Mountains outside her window, she sits at her computer surrounded by a wide array of witches, shapeshifters, demons, faeries, and gryphons, with a Navy SEAL or two mixed in telling their tales. Her books tell stories of magical kick-ass women and mystical alpha males that dare to love them. Travel, adventure and a bit of mystery flourish in her books along with a few companion animals to round out the tales.

Authors’ Secret’s Blog -
My Say What Blog -
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Friday, December 13, 2019

Lucy Naylor Kubash & the Importance of Pets

Lucy Naylor Kubash visits today to tell us what her pets, and animals in general, mean to her. Lucy shares some adorable pictures of her pets. Her love of animals finds its way into her books as well. In her newest book, WILL O' THE WISP, the heroine's desire to rescue horses plays a central role in the story. Welcome Lucy! 

From the time I was born, I’ve always had pets, usually more than one. Dogs, cats, canaries, a guinea pig, and chickens. When my kids came along, we amped up the menagerie to include not only the above but hamsters, parakeets, finches, a hermit crab, an assortment of aquarium creatures, a lizard, and a horse. Once we had a fish that proved to be a threat to all the other fish in the aquarium, and so we had to isolate him. Then he got some fish disease, and I ended up spending more on drops to treat him than what I paid for the fish. He recovered and went on to live a long mean fish life. So, it’s fair to say animals have played a big role in my life.

Foo Foo the Pomerian
In 2002, a friend of mine asked me to take over writing a column she was doing for a small local weekly newspaper. Her husband was ill, and she didn’t have the time for it. I’d had short magazine stories published but never written a column. She assured me it would only be for a month, maybe two. I agreed to do her a favor. Seventeen years later, I’m still writing that column, now called the Pet Corner. I never would have thought I could come up with enough ideas to keep that column going this many years, but I guess when it comes to pets, there is always something else to say.


In my column, I advocate for homeless pets and encourage owners to spay and neuter their pets, so as not to contribute to the overpopulation of animals in shelters and foster homes. I’ve talked about how not to attract wildlife to your house, keeping pets safe in the cold of winter and the heat of summer, and have even in the past few years, written about my visits to horse sanctuaries out West. One of my biggest concerns is for the wild mustangs that have been rounded up and wait in holding pens to be adopted.

Ace the Tenacious Terrier with his cat buddy Sandwich
My newest book, Will o’ the Wisp, from The Wild Rose Press, tells of Allison Delaney, who will risk her own safety to rescue an animal in danger. When she is faced with threats to her child and the animals who mean so much to her, she must also risk her heart.


In spite of a broken heart, Allison Delaney carved out a life for herself and her young daughter on her grandparents' farm. Her child and the horses she rescues are all that matter. Then a sudden threat to their safety puts her back in touch with Shane McBride, the man she never thought to see again.

Returning to the small town of Silver Creek brings back a lot of memories for Shane, ones he treasures haunted by the ones that made him leave, but this time he is determined to stay and make things right.

Trusting Shane may be her only choice, but now Allison fears not only the threat against her farm but the risk of losing her heart again.

Here is an excerpt, from WILL O' THE WISP: 

The man who stepped from inside the truck was definitely not Doc. Tall, with shoulders stretching the faded fabric of his denim shirt and shiny black hair that glistened in the sunlight, he would have towered over Doc’s stocky figure. As he started toward the barn, she couldn’t see his face, but the easy swagger to his walk, the way he rolled his booted feet from heel to toe, spoke to her of things she thought she had forgotten. Had worked very hard to forget. Feelings she’d buried ten years ago.  Uncomfortable, she dropped her gaze to her daughter who had come to stand next to Gypsy.

“Is he Doc’s helper, you think?” Lizzie scrunched her nose. “I don’t think I know him.”

Sudden awareness clutched Allison’s heart, giving it an extra beat, as if to prove the man walking toward her was still easy on the eyes but hard on the heart. He’d certainly been hard on hers.

It would stand to reason Doc might call on him to give a hand. But why does it have to be my barn that needs visiting this morning? Her heart thumped hard in her chest as Shane McBride came closer, stopped short, and tilted his head back to get a better look at her. For a second, surprise lit his eyes to the color of the sky, then, sticking his hands into his denim pockets, he shook his head. A slow grin touched his mouth. The mouth she remembered so well.

“Allison,” he said in his slow, sexy way. “I…wasn’t sure it was you who called.”

Her throat closed up, and she had to clear it twice to speak. “I left the message on the machine. Do I sound so different?” After ten years, she supposed she did. Ten years could rob you of a lot of things, a lot of memories, especially if the memories meant nothing to you.

Buy Links:
Barnes and Noble:

Bio for Lucy Naylor Kubash:
I have been writing for many years and was first published in 1983 in Woman's World magazine. I'm a long-time member of Romance Writers of America as well as the Mid-Michigan RWA chapter. Besides writing fiction, I'm also the author of a monthly column called The Pet Corner. I live with my husband of forty-seven years, and we love to travel, especially out West. We have two grown children and share our home with a fuzzy Pomeranian named Foo Foo, Ace the Tenacious Terrier, and two cats, Zombie and Sandwich.

You can find Lucy here:
The Zeke Chronicles Blog:

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

BLOODBORN, #NewRelease from Sydney Winward

Sydney Winward makes her first appearance today at Journeys with Jana and I'm thrilled to have her. Her paranormal romance, BLOODBORN, sounds like the perfect conflict; a vampire who falls in love with a vampire hunter. Welcome Sydney!

5 Things Adam Degore Can’t Live Without

1. A weapon. Doesn’t matter what kind. Sword, dagger, nails. Heck, he could probably even kill someone with a twig if he was determined enough.

2. A second weapon. In case the first weapon doesn’t work. But of course, he’d need to conceal this one. In his boot. Beneath his armor. Maybe even inside his glove. You can never be too careful.

3. His horse. Doesn’t have a name. Doesn’t need one. The blood hunter brand on the creature’s shoulder speaks for itself. If you steal his horse, he will hunt you down.

4. Several reliable herbs. Violet brittlebrush to knock a man out. Wolfsbane to stop lycanthropy just in case. Perhaps even a few healing herbs. Being a blood hunter is dangerous work after all.

5. His brother. Everything he has done up until this point has been for his brother. Becoming a blood hunter. Dedicating his life to hunting dark creatures. If only saving him was within his own reach.

Quick 5 About the Author, Sydney Winward:

Favorite Show to Binge Watch?
Merlin! This show was made just for me, I swear.

I’m Always Ready For…
...rollerblading. I’ve got a pair of rollerblades in the car at all times. Not to mention the ones in my closet. Or the ones in the kitchen…

When I’m Alone, I… in the kitchen with music. Unless my toddler catches me. Then I dance with him XD

Country Life or City Life?
Country all the way. I love the open fields, the horses, the goats, the stray cats.

Movies: Romantic Comedies, Thriller, or Horror?
Romantic comedies. Can never get enough!

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Adam Degore's personal need to find a cure for vampirism drives him to ensnare a vampire, but the creature he captures is Dracula's daughter. Worse yet, he's drawn to her—a monster he's vowed to kill.

Despite her father's wishes, Willow chooses to live among humans instead of the vampire conclave where she would be safe. She wants a life filled with more than shadows. Being captured by a human, not to mention falling in love with one, is not part of her plan.

With vampires and blood hunters closing in on their chosen prey, Adam and Willow need to trust one another. But will that trust come in time for them to survive and find a future together?


“How could you?” she gasped, taking another step backward, but to back up much further would result in falling over the edge of the cliff and into the holy waters below. However, he was blocking her escape, a menacing sword close to penetrating her skin. Any false move would result in an iron sword through her heart. “How could you take me here?”

“I couldn’t tell you,” he answered, his voice thick with emotion. “It’s the only way. It’s the last thing I could do. For Zachariah.”

She felt numb. After everything that had happened between them, he still meant to kill her? But he was her mate. Mates were supposed to look after one another.

“Don’t do this,” she whispered, taking yet another step backward but stopping in her tracks when the roaring of the falls crashed into her ears like the loud toll of a bell signaling a vampire getting burned at the stake.

She would meet the same fate, except the only audience she would have was Adam and it was holy water instead of fire. She didn’t know which was worse. “I care for you, Adam. I want you to give me a chance.”

“I don’t have a choice. I need my brother back. He’s the only family I have left.”

About the Author:

Sydney Winward was born with an artistic brain and a love of discovery for new talents. From drawing to sewing to music, she has loved to explore every opportunity that comes her way. At a young age, Sydney discovered her love of writing and wrote her first book at twelve years old, and since then, she hasn’t been able to stop writing. Her active imagination and artistic mind take her away to different worlds and time periods, making every new story a fantastic adventure. When she is not writing (or fawning over animals in the neighborhood) she spends time with her husband and children at home in Utah.

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Friday, December 6, 2019

IN MISTLETOE, A Holiday Romance from Tammy Bailey

Author Tammy L. Bailey joins me today with a Quick Five that lets us get to know her better. She's featuring her contemporary holiday romance, IN MISTLETOE, just in time for Christmas. Thanks for being here, Tammy!

Tammy's Quick Five:

- Movies: romantic comedies, thriller, or horror? Got a different favorite?
ROMANTIC! I’m a romance junkie. My favorite movies to watch are period dramas and Hallmark Christmas movies. Of course, my favorite period drama is North and South with Richard Armitage. Such a great movie.

- What's your favorite show to binge watch?
Currently, I’ve been binge watching The Outpost with Jake Stormoen. I loved him in the Mythica series, and I was so happy to see him land in a series on the CW. They will be filming their third season in a few months, and I really can’t wait!

- Favorite song? 
My favorite song is Sometimes When We Touch by Dan Hill. The video featuring Rique Franks is my favorite version of the song. It sort of reminds me of my current WIP, a contemporary romance where Mercury Retrograde ends up turning everyone’s lives upside down.

- What song would best describe your life?
The River by Garth Brooks. It’s more of a song I try to live by. A dreamer who never quits. I couldn’t find a great quality video of this song, but the lyrics are powerful. I play this song when I start to lose confidence.

- I'm always ready for...
#CBJ (Columbus Blue Jackets) Hockey. I’m sort of obsessed. My favorite player is #77 Josh Anderson. Here are a few of my favorite Andy moments.


At twenty-five, Grace Evans is steadily picking up the pieces of everyone else’s life. So, when her younger sister decides to turn into a runaway bride just four weeks before the wedding, Grace, drops everything to chase after her and bring her back home. Only, when the trail leads to Mistletoe, Washington, she finds herself at the mercy of the town’s most handsome and emotionally unavailable bachelor.

Ex-Army officer, Ayden McCabe, has three creeds in life: never make the first move, never fall in love, and never take anyone to Mistletoe’s Christmas Dance. Wanting nothing more than to keep his matchmaking sister from meddling in his personal life, he agrees to help Grace if she agrees to play his girlfriend. Too brunette and meek for his taste, Ayden believes Grace can’t tempt him enough to break any of his creeds. He could not be more wrong.


Ayden downed the rest of his beer, unsure whether what he was about to do was a brilliant idea or one drastic and tragic mistake. He knew nothing about Grace Evans except that she was uncommonly pretty with perhaps more freckles on her small nose than most women he knew. She also appeared a bit unorganized and seemed to carry the weight of the world on her small shoulders. He had no doubt most of that world didn’t even belong to her.

However, she was nice and didn’t seem to want anything from him except a room. As he planned his next move, she exited the bathroom behind Rachel, her fine features perplexed and pinched into careful deliberation. At least she didn’t head straight for the exit; she ambled toward their booth.

When she sat down, she tucked a wisp of dark shoulder-length hair behind an ear, a nervous habit he found innocent and sensual at the same time. Not that he liked to memorize a woman’s attributes; he did find her deep hazel eyes intriguing, especially when she narrowed them in serious thought.

“I guess I was wrong about you. You are very popular around here,” she said, peeking up from her timidity.

He chuckled and sank against the cushioned seat, believing Grace Evans presented him with more problems than he was ready to handle. Yet, he knew she awarded him a solution to at least one of them.

On a gamble, he shifted forward and drew out the flyer he’d ripped off the wooden post a few feet from them. On the table before her, he flattened out the edge and tapped the center where his face lay wrinkled and distorted.

“Not that I agree one should try and find someone who has voluntarily disappeared, but I want to propose a scheme of sorts. I can help you find your sister, but I need something from you in exchange.”

She glanced up, her glittering eyes narrowing to distrusting slits in the muted lamp light. He thought about recanting his thoughts, convinced no one would ever believe she’d caught his attention, for he preferred them taller, a little vain, and more liberated. This girl, on the other hand, barely cleared his chin, possessed not one conceited bone in her small body, and appeared, at present, as cautious and jittery as a baby rabbit ready to bolt.

He waited for the displeasure of such a woman to sink into his gut, causing him to change his mind. When, after a few moments of glancing at her wondrous brown-hazel eyes, his body reacted more with temptation than reluctance.

“You need me, Grace. I can see it. I can feel it. And I can help you.”

She shook her head, making him wonder how often she accepted help from anyone. Too stubborn to give up on her, he settled in and presented his case. “My sister—her name’s Maggie—has it in her romantic head that if I find a woman to settle down with, I won’t sell Hearth’s Gate. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Grace’s pretty gaze narrowed. “Okay…but I don’t understand how I can help.”

He smiled at her naïveté. “All I’m asking you to do between us locating your sister, is stay close to me, pose as my girlfriend, and in the end, crush and leave me a dejected mess. Maybe then Maggie will stop interfering in my personal life.”

Grace blinked long lashes at him. “Girlfriend? But…I-I don’t think I could…be your girlfriend or even do something so heartless.”

He had to laugh at her innocent response. “Grace, I have no intention of losing myself in the charade. I’m just asking you to help teach my sister a lesson.”

The sooner the better, he thought. He needed to sell Hearth’s Gate in order to pay for the low bid his construction company made on the county contract. With Maggie breathing down his back about keeping it, this was no different from what their mother did to their father. Although he’d loved his mother, she was a woman who spent so much time planning everyone else’s life, she didn’t even stop to consider what his father or anyone else wanted. Now, they were both gone. Losing someone, Ayden realized, made one reevaluate their life and the burden of loving another human being.

“So, all I have to do is to pretend to be in love with you?”

He shook himself from his thoughts and narrowed his gaze, afraid to say the wrong thing lest she run screaming from O’Shannon’s, or worse, get lost in the sham and declare them engaged by the Christmas Eve Eve Dance. This was a thin rope he had to cross. A very thin rope.

“Love is an awfully strong word, Miss Evans. Besides, it will only be for a week, just long enough to convince Maggie she can stop trying to find me a wife.”

Grace chewed on her bottom lip and blinked her hypnotic eyes. “Will your sister believe you’ve met someone and fallen in love in such a short amount of time?”

Valid question. “Ah, you don’t know Maggie. She’s a hopeless romantic…love at first sight, that sort of nonsense. But just in case, we’ll try and avoid her at all cost, until we know enough about each other to pull this off.”

He grinned, enjoying waiting for Grace’s answer. In the meantime, he waved to the nearest waitress his sister had yet to fix him up with, signaling her to bring them another round.

Buy Links:

Author Bio:

Tammy L. Bailey writes historical, contemporary, and fantasy fiction with clever, romantic, and unexpected escapes combining delicious tension and laugh out loud humor. Before she began writing romance, Tammy served in both the active Army and the Air National Guard. She was once asked if she wanted to become a navigator on a C-130. However, after getting lost to the recruiter's office, she was persuaded to choose another job.

 Today, she lives with her husband and two sons in Northeast Ohio where she balances her time between family, her full-time job as a nursing secretary, and being a writer. Whether it's historical or contemporary romance, for her, there must always be a happy ending.

 If you want to connect with Tammy or want to know when she'll be releasing her next book, please sign up for her newsletter. She can't wait to hear from you.

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Tuesday, December 3, 2019


Jennifer Wilck is here to tell us about one of her favorite Hanukkah traditions - fried Oreos. Now that's a tradition I can really get behind! Jennifer also shares a blurb and an excerpt from her newest release, WAITING FOR A MIRACLE, a Hanukkah story. Thanks for being here, Jen, and thanks for sharing your recipe!

The holidays are coming, and I’m extra excited this year. Not only do I have a Hanukkah novella out, but I get to share a bit about the holiday, and a favorite recipe, with you!

For those who are unfamiliar with Hanukkah, it’s an eight-day holiday that celebrates the Maccabean army’s successful rebellion over Antiochus, who had banned Jewish religious practice way back in the 2nd century BCE. When the Maccabees reconsecrated the Temple of Jerusalem, there wasn’t enough oil to light the lamps, and according to Jewish legend, one small pot of oil—enough for one day—lasted for eight days, giving enough time to find more. What does all that mean?

Well, it means we light eight candles—one per night—to celebrate the miracle of the oil, and we eat lots of oily foods during the holiday. Usually, that means donuts and latkes. But our family makes fried Oreos.

One summer, my husband and I attended a country fair, and one of the fair foods was fried Oreos. They were delicious! So good, in fact, that I searched online for a recipe, and now that recipe has become “mine.” Family and friends insist I make fried Oreos every Hanukkah. And, if we’re not seeing people for Hanukkah, they request I make it at other times of the year.

So, I thought I’d share the recipe with you:

1 package Oreo cookies
2 cups Bisquick pancake mix
2 eggs
1.5 cups milk
3 teaspoons oil
vegetable oil for deep frying

1. Blend Bisquick, eggs, milk and 3 tsp oil until smooth.
2. Preheat deep fryer to 375 (use a candy thermometer if frying in a pan).
3. Dip the cookies in the batter mixture until totally covered. Place in the hot oil (cookies will float).
4. Keep checking and turn over the cookie when bottom side turns brown.
5. Keep a close watch because it only takes a few seconds to burn.
6. Remove cookies and place on paper towel.
7. Serve warm, with powdered sugar, chocolate syrup or ice cream.

Now, about that novella. Jessie, the six-year-old daughter of my hero, Benjamin, would LOVE this recipe. She likes everything about Hanukkah, especially when she gets to celebrate it with her grandmother, who also happens to be the neighbor of her kindergarten teacher, Rachel. Harriet, the grandmother, wants her son to be happy, and thinks Rachel is the perfect one to make that happen. Benjamin isn’t so sure he’s ready to start dating again, after the death of his wife. Rachel isn’t sure about it either. Not only is Jessie her student, but she’s hoping to foster a child in the new year and doesn’t want anything to interfere with her plans.

I won’t tell you anymore, but if you’re looking for a short, funny and sweet read, this story is for you.

Let me know how you like it, and also, let me know if you try my recipe!

Happy Hanukkah!


Benjamin Cohen, widowed father of six-year-old Jessie, is doing his best to hold it together through order and routine. The last thing he needs is his matchmaker mother to set him up with her next door neighbor, no matter how attractive she is.

Rachel Schaecter's dream of becoming a foster mother is right within her grasp, until her meddlesome neighbor tries to set her up with her handsome son. What's worse? He's the father of her favorite kindergarten student! She can't afford to let anything come between her and her dream, no matter how gorgeous he may be.

Can these two determined people trust in the miracle of Hanukkah to let love and light into their lives?


Six-year-old bodies were good at many things— bouncing, hugging, and racing. Rachel was thankful they were also good at hiding her surprise. Never in her wildest dreams did she imagine her favorite student, and her student’s father, would be at her neighbor’s house the same night she was invited to celebrate Hanukkah.

She met the hard gaze of Jessie’s father across the room. Eyes narrowed as if he suspected her reasons for being here. His broad shoulders were stiff. His jean-clad muscular legs were spread apart in a solid stance. Square hands fisted at his sides, and one of them held a menorah. Did he plan to throw it or club someone with it?

Giving Jessie a last pat, she rose. With an arm around Jessie, she extended her other hand to her father. “Happy Hanukkah.”

“Ms. Schaecter.”

“Mr. Cohen.”

“Oh, please,” Harriet said, “Such formality between you two. Rachel, this is my son Benny. I mean Benjamin.”

Benny. Rachel filed the information away for later, along with his flushed skin at the nickname. Interesting.

“And Benjamin, this is my neighbor, Rachel. We’re not at a school event. You can call each other by your first names.” Harriet pointed at Jessie, who gripped Rachel’s hand so hard, Rachel’s fingers lost their circulation. “Except for you,” Harriet added. “You have to call her Ms. Schaecter.”

Jessie giggled. “Yes, Grandma.”

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Author Bio:

Jennifer started telling herself stories as a little girl when she couldn’t fall asleep at night. Pretty soon, her head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Even as an adult, she thinks about the characters and stories at night before she falls asleep or walking the dog. Eventually, she started writing them down. Her favorite stories to write are those with smart, sassy, independent heroines; handsome, strong and slightly vulnerable heroes; and her stories always end with happily ever after.

In the real world, she’s the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men she knows. She believes humor is the only way to get through the day and does not believe in sharing her chocolate.

She writes contemporary romance, some of which are mainstream and some of which involve Jewish characters. She’s published with The Wild Rose Press and all her books are available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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