Saturday, October 3, 2015

Taryn Kincaid brings shifters, Sleepy Hollow magic and sexy heroes!

Cate: Woot! Taryn Kincaid's returned for the Halloween celebration. Taryn, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Taryn: I read and write everything. Well, not that I’ve written everything there is or ever was, but sometimes I mix up genres. I seem to be most comfortable with paranormals, if you go by my SLEEPY HOLLOW series of 1Night Stand books for Decadent Publishing, or my Black Hills Wolves shifter romances (one out, one on its way and one in progress!), but my first contract was for a Regency Romance, HEALING HEARTS, from Carina Press. And I’ve taken a dip into the contemporary romance pool, too, which has produced some of my best writing.

Cate: What do you love most about Halloween?
Taryn: Sheesh, what’s not to like? Candy, kids, apples, pumpkins and spices, bursts of amazing color when you leaf-peep, and the fabulous snack and party ideas on Pinterest. I can’t believe some of the stuff people dream up!

Cate: Exactly! lol Do you have a favorite memory of a Halloween past?
Taryn: Trying to get home from school before anyone else, get costumed, made up, out the door and over to the neighbors’ before Mrs. Mac gave out all her candy apples! (She only made them for the neighbor kids she knew.) I guess no one really does that anymore.

Cate: Sadly, not that I know of. We don’t even get trick or treaters where I live! I miss them.
Have you ever had an unusual experience you couldn’t explain?
Taryn: Yes, but I can’t talk about them!

Cate: Uh oh! Now I’m imagining the worst, lol. What frightens you the most?
Taryn: Donald Trump.

Cate: Yikes, YES! Can’t even joke about that. Ever gone on a ghost tour? Or ghost hunting on your own?
Taryn: Went on a ghost tour in New Orleans, maybe the best city in the world for that. It’s got such a reputation for ghosts that you can see realtor signs hanging on apartments to let that say, “Haunted / Not haunted” and things like that!

Cate: I so want to go there. Any favorite Halloween recipes you’d care to share?
Taryn: Have a bunch of them up on my “Happy Halloween” Pinterest board:

Cate: Yum! Ok, now for the real goodies! Tell us about your latest release, and where readers can find it online.
Taryn: I’ve got  HER CAPTAIN coming in December from Fated Desires Publishing’s Tempting Signs series, but it’s available for pre-order now! The hero, Slate Claybourne, is a sexy, taciturn—and somewhat damaged--ex-Navy SEAL, who returns to his hometown. He’s a Capricorn and would keep to himself if he could. But the heroine, Holly Harper, a bouncy and impetuous Aries, has other ideas!

Cate: Care to share a blurb or excerpt?
Taryn: Would love to!
 12 Authors. 12 Zodiac Signs. 1 Explosive Series. What seductive, contemporary
 romance will you find today? 

Capricorn Slate Claybourne, an ex-Navy SEAL and former sniper who has seen and done things in country that no man should endure, returns to his bucolic hometown on Pieberry  Island, desperate for the mundane, everyday routines he once wanted to escape.

A broken soul-dead man unable to be around people, his body still a lethal weapon when his night terrors wake him from sleep, Slate’s failed to keep the promise he made to the commander who died in his arms: to look after the older man’s baby girl.

But animated Aries Holly Harper is not the pigtailed tot Slate expected her to be, when she lands on the island to take over the decrepit Pieberry House, determined to turn it into an inn for summer tourists, and even more determined to yank Slate back into the land of the living.

First she crashes into him at the island’s holiday Winter Festival, dumping a towering stack of pies at his feet, then she drags him off to a fortune teller against his better judgment. Except for the sizzling attraction smoldering between them, they’re incompatible in every way.

But when a furious December nor’easter traps them together at Pieberry House, will Slate and Holly overcome their pasts and discover they are two halves of a whole?

Cate: Sounds great! What inspired you to write about the theme?
Taryn: Each sign of the series has been written by a different author. So when I was asked if I wanted to do one, I chose Capricorn, which is my own sign. I knew I wanted the hero to be some sort of sea captain…my original inspiration was Billy Joel’s Downeaster Alexa (…and I knew there was going to be a big Sandy-type storm…but that’s about it. I toyed with the title, Captain January, like the Shirley Temple movie because I thought the book would release in January. (It’s a December 15, 2015 release). As it turns out, it’s nothing like Captain January, and nothing like the Downeaster Alexa! About the only thing that remains is the storm! I love it.

Cate: Very cool! Anything else you’d like to share?
Taryn: Yep! My next Black Hills Wolves shifter book, ANOTHER CHANCE, is coming soon. (I don’t know the date yet, or I’d share.) But here’s the gorgeous cover:

Cate: Oo, you’re in for a treat, readers. Taryn has a giveaway for you!
Taryn: What’s your sign? Do you believe in astrology? Tell me that, or relate one of your favorite storm anecdotes and I’ll send a random commenter a copy of my first Black Hills Wolves shifter book, WOLF’S SONG.

Cate: The perfect Halloween treat! Thanks for joining the party, Taryn!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Pippa Jay spins an intriguing web of scifi paranormal romance

Cate: Please welcome Pippa Jay to my special Halloween celebration. Pippa Jay, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Pippa Jay: Hi. I write scifi and the supernatural, and sometimes there’s kissing involved. Scaper, Whovian, and Sith-in-training. I’ve spent most of my life living in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with my husband of 22 years and three little monsters, but continue to roam the rest of the Universe in my head.
I'm a dedicated member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, Broad Universe and EPIC, blogging at Spacefreighters Lounge, Adventures in Scifi, and Romancing the Genres. I'm also a double SFR Galaxy Award winner, been a finalist in the Heart of Denver RWA Aspen Gold Contest (3rd place), the GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards (2nd place), an 2015 EPIC eBook and LERA  2015 Rebecca finalist.
You can stalk me at my website, or at my blog, but without doubt my favorite place to hang around and chat is on Twitter as @pippajaygreen.

Cate: What do you love most about Halloween?
Pippa Jay: I love autumn in general - still warm and sunny but not the full on brightness and heat of summer. The smell of bonfires and household fires. The sparkle of dew or the white edging of frost in the mornings, and all the colours - red, gold and brown. But I was a practising witch as a teen, so All Hallows Eve still has a special significance to me along with Midsummer’s Eve. And every year my husband tries to do something a bit different from the usual scary faced pumpkins. Last year we had peppers with scary faces instead of a pumpkin, lol

Cate: How cool! And autumn's my favorite season too.Do you have a favorite memory of a Halloween past?
Pippa Jay: Last year was unusually warm, so we were wandering around in t-shirts - on Halloween! It was nice not to be shivering inside our costumes. Our local zoo runs an event called Shriek Week, when it stays open late around Halloween so you can walk around in the dark, take the train which is made into a ghost ride, go for a spooky walk and have witches and ghouls jump out at you, and generally have fun. My kids love it!

Cate: So much better than the year we had snow, lol. Shriek Week sounds like a blast! Have you ever had an unusual experience you couldn’t explain?
Pippa Jay: Yes. When hubs and I were first married, we rented a house set in what was the old Roman wall around our home town of Colchester. A couple of times our stereo system switched itself on - it had never done it before and never did it again after we moved, and we tried different plug sockets between the two occurrences. Hubs also saw a shadow that he thought was me waiting to jump out on him, but then I walked out of a completely separate room and the shadow was gone when he looked again.

Cate: What frightens you the most?
Pippa Jay: Anything bad happening to my kids. Closely followed by being covered in spiders (this is a regular nightmare of mine).

Cate: Some of ours are so big, they're practically domesticated, lol. Ever gone on a ghost tour? Or ghost hunting on your own?
Pippa Jay: Absolutely not!

Cate: lol Any favorite Halloween recipes you’d care to share?
Pippa Jay: Okay, this is a recipe based on a drink mentioned in my Halloween-themed story Hallow's Eve.

Hodge's Spiced Elderberry Cordial
1.5 lbs elderberries (or however many you have! You could also use any other kind of berries.)
Demarara sugar
Cinnamon Sticks

Remove the elderberries from the stalks using a fork. Place the elderberries in a saucepan with just enough water to cover them, then bring to a simmer and allow them to cook for 20 minutes.  The berries will soften and the liquid will be dark red.
Strain out the berries with a sieve or use muslin cloth (crush with a fork or squeeze the cloth to extract as much juice as possible), keeping the juice (be careful as this stains!)
Measure the amount of juice.
Pour the juice back into the empty saucepan. For every 2 cups of juice, add 2 cups of Demerara sugar, 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 cloves and the juice from ½ a lemon.
Bring the mixture to a boil and maintain for 15 minutes, stirring regularly to ensure all the sugar dissolves.  Remove the cinnamon sticks and cloves. Let the mixture cool while you prepare the bottles.
If you’re planning/able to store the cordial in the fridge, simply clean your storage bottles with hot, soapy water and then rinse in boiling water. Once the bottles are cool, fill with cordial, stopper and store.
Serve diluted with hot water as a warming winter drink and a boost during illness. In folklore elderberries were used as a protection against influenza, and research has now established that elderberry extract is a clinically proven treatment against flu. You could also add the same spices used in mulled wine for a more Christmassy variation.

Cate: Mm, that sounds very tasty! Thanks for sharing. Now for the real goodies - tell us about your latest release, and where readers can find it online.
Pippa Jay: My most recent release is a re-release after my publisher closed this year: Tethered, a scifi romance/space opera featuring a succubus-like assassin called Tyree, who is assigned to protect a human diplomat already injured after several attempts on his life. It’s available at all online retailers.

Cate: Care to share a blurb or excerpt?
Pippa Jay: She can kill with a kiss. But can assassin Tyree also heal one man's grief, and bring peace to a galaxy threatened by war?
For Tyree of the Su, being an assassin isn’t simply something she was trained for. It's the sole reason for her existence. A genetically enhanced clone—one of many in Refuge—she's about to learn her secluded lifestyle, and that of all her kind, is under threat by a race capable of neutralizing their special talents to leave them defenseless.
For Zander D'joren, being a diplomat has not only cost him his appearance, but also the love of his life. Scarred, grieving, he must nonetheless continue in his role as co-delegate to the fearsome Tier-vane or risk a conflict that could only end one way.
Now both of them need to keep each other alive and maintain a perilous deception long enough to renegotiate the treaty with the Tier-vane, or throw their people into a war that could wipe out Terrans and Inc-Su alike. But there's more at stake than humanity, whether true or modified. Can the love growing between them save them both? Or merely hasten their destruction?
A science fiction romance novella, previously released by Breathless Press, 24th July 2014.

Cate: Love it. What inspired you to write about the theme?
Pippa Jay: I was having a discussion with some friends on Twitter about under-represented mythical races: how elves and dragons were getting all the limelight and that there must be loads of others we could write about for a change. The idea for a story about a succubus (NOT an under-represented race, I know) but in a futuristic setting popped into my head, and after that it wouldn’t leave me alone. I spent most of Christmas Day sneaking off to scribble notes. 

Cate: Anything else you’d like to share?
Pippa Jay: This month I’m taking part in a huge cancer charity event called Scream! For the Cure, where bundles of books are auctioned off every week to support a great cause. Please stop by at for more information and help my friend Cate Peace make some dreams come true.

Cate: Readers, Pippa has a treat for you!
Pippa Jay: I’m offering a digital format of my paranormal romance short to one person who comments on this post with their favourite paranormal entity.

Cate: Thanks for joining the party, Pippa! Happy Halloween to you and yours.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

It's October 1st! Let the merrymaking commence!

I love October! It's the month of all things pumpkin, leaves turning gorgeous hues and fluttering down like colorful snowflakes, spooky stories and best of all, Halloween.

So once again, I've invited authors to take part in a month-long celebration. Don't miss out! Check back every day.

If you're an author, a few dates are still open - waiting for you!

To kick things off, here's a delicious treat. :)

Pumpkin Bread with Pumpkin Butter Cream
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 large eggs
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar (You can substituted light brown sugar)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest (I omitted this)
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest (I left this out, too)
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/4 cups canned pure pumpkin puree
1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans or walnuts, optional (I didn’t add the nuts to the batter, but sprinkled them on top of the frosted loaf instead)
Position your oven rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 5″ loaf pan; set aside.

Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and allspice in a medium bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined; set aside.
In another bowl, or bowl of an electric mixer, beat eggs on medium-high speed for two minutes or until lightened in color. Add the brown sugar, mixing for about 2 minutes, then the granulated sugar, mixing for about 1 minute. Add the orange and lemon zests, if using, and beat for another minute. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
Drizzle in the canola oil with beater on medium-low. Reduce speed to low and add the pumpkin puree. Mix until thoroughly combined. Add the dry ingredients in two additions and blend for 10-15 seconds just until incorporated. Fold in the pecans using a rubber spatula.
Spoon the batter into your prepared loaf pan and bake for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool loaf in pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 Tablespoons canned pure pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons half & half or milk
1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional, for sprinkling on top
Cream the butter, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, and vanilla, blending well. Add powdered sugar a cup at a time, blending well after each addition. Add half & half or milk and blend well. NOTE: This makes a very thick butter cream frosting. If you want a thinner, creamier frosting, add more half & half or milk until you get the desired consistency.
You can top the frosted pumpkin loaf with chopped pecans or walnuts.