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Traditions, Turkey and Trees

I must admit that when I realized there was a recipe theme...I freaked. I am NOT a good cook at all. In fact, when I bake cookies the first thing my children do is look at the bottom to see if they're burned. Nice. So instead of giving you a food recipe, I thought I'd give you my recipe for the perfect Thanksgiving weekend.

Step 1-Traditions: For me personally, the holiday season is all about traditions. Growing up, our Thanksgivings were always warm, comfortable, family oriented and full of great food. The best thing about this holiday was that the day always started slowly. There was no rushing around trying to get to church on time like we usually did on Christmas. Nope, there was none of that stuff. We usually went to my grandmother's house but my mom was always cooking something yummy that morning to bring along. Us kids would hang around in our pj's and watch the Macy's parade on television. (Even though I've lived within 45 min. of NYC my entire life I…

Grace's Secret Recipe

This has been the month for food recipes, but I pretty much stopped cooking when Beloved Offspring moved out. I can offer a recipe of a different sort, though, one having to do with my experiences in the past year as a debut author awaiting publication.
Here are some steps and ingredients that have made the road to publication a wonderful journey: Submit your MS to a terrific contest, like the Georgia Romance Writer’s Maggie, which will see your work critiqued by several published authors who want to get you published almost as badly as you want to be published. Attend a wonderful writer’s gathering, like the Washington Romance Writer’s Spring retreat, where you can learn the basics of pitching, some excellent craft, and some up to the nanosecond industry scuttlebutt from agents, editors, and your sister authors. Make some writing friends from several points on the continuum, because though you’re unpublished, you can still beta read, critique, encourage, and otherwise contribute to ot…

Sugar Rush!

Forgive me for interrupting this wonderful month of food-related blogs with something which may not seem like a big deal to anyone else but for which I am extremely thankful.

The Sourcebooks Spring 2011 Calendar is out and my book, WHAT A GODDESS WANTS, is on page 153. http://www.sourcebooks.com/images/stories/docs/catalogs/Spring2011Trade.pdf

Thank you for your time.

Now, back to the holidays. For me, the main course is not the best part of the meal. Dessert is. The meal is just something you have to forge through to get to dessert.

For Thanksgiving, my mother-in-law made pumpkin and apple pies and my new sister-in-law brought cheesecake. Ah, it's lovely to have choices.

But now that Thanksgiving is a memory, it's time for Christmas cookies. And those are even better than than all the cakes and pies combines.

Cutouts, chocolate chip, peanut butter, Russian tea, snickerdoodles, oatmeal raisin... These are the classics in my mom's repertoire. My fondest Christmas memories a…

"Back of the Box" Thanksgiving

by Tamara Hogan



I'm not the world's greatest cook. Actually, let me correct that - the food I cook is actually pretty tasty, but let's just say the fewer the ingredients, the better. Most of my go-to recipes have:

- 5 ingredients or less,
- can be assembed using largely pre-packaged ingredients, or
- have the words easy, simple or brainless in the title

My most well-thumbed cookbook is called "The Back of the Box Gourmet."

I don't have a lot of patience for complexity, fuss, or dishes. If the recipe is putzy, it's not for me. And that's okay, because I have a repertoire of utterly brainless, calorie-laden recipes that friends and family BEG me to make, year after year.

Mark and I are hosting my family for Thanksgiving this year, with the event being pretty casual, and heavy on the appetizers:
Kari's Nacho Dip 1 lb. hamburger, browned 1 can cream of chicken soup
1 jar of salsa  1 small block Mexican Velveeta Cheese

Instructions: In large pan on stov…

Holiday Recipes for the Troops

Post-Thanksgiving Greetings! Catherine Mann here, with a slightly different twist on our November recipe exchange. For those of you who've read my backlist, you know that many of my books have military themes, no surprise as I'm married to my own Air Force flyboy hero.



In counting my Thanksgiving blessings this year, I'm especially thankful to have my husband home for the holiday weekend. As a military family, my husband and I have spent more than a few holidays, birthdays and anniversaries apart. In fact, my sister and niece are with us now since my brother-in-law is deployed. And my daughter's military boyfriend is overseas as well. We've spent a good deal of time and thought wedging treats and gifts to send to our loved ones far away. (My grandma, also a military spouse, used to pack all her gifts in bags of marshmallows or bags of real peanuts rather than the styrofoam kind!)

So for our November theme of holiday recipes, I would like to take the opportunit…

It's All About the Pie

Let’s face it: turkey is fine, mashed potatoes lovely. Cranberry relish, green bean casserole, squash—all very nice. But truly, it’s all just a prologue to the pie.One year, we counted 13 pies at our family gathering…for 20 people.Pecan, apple, raisin, mincemeat, pumpkin, cherry, banana.Whatever happens to be handy, you can guess that someone in my family will make a pie out of it. I wish I had a recipe to share with you, but for the most part, the folks in our family (Grandpa included!) are big fans of the wing-it method.You peel and slice some apples, throw them into a pie crust, add butter, sugar and cinnamon and pop it into the oven.You just make it so it tastes good.I think many would look at writing the same way. So many people try to say that romance is formulaic, that it’s all the same.Yes, we know there have to be certain ingredients (a pause here while we silently recount the criteria for a romance novel to ourselves), but it’s hardly a strict recipe.Some prefer the sweeter…

Thanksgiving Memories

By Anita Clenney

As a child, I lived near several aunts and uncles, so cousins were plentiful. Most of the men, and a couple of aunts, are hunters, and had been going to the same hunting spot for decades. This has been a tradition in my family going back to before I was born.

Since Thanksgiving coincides with hunting season, and the men had a limited time off from work, they would usually go hunting, sometimes spending the holiday weekend in order to load up the freezer with venison. This meant they missed Thanksgiving dinner, but was it ever a blast for the kids! All the women and kids had a big sleepover. After a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner, we stayed up late, the women gossiping and making fudge and cookies while the kids played and tried to eavesdrop on the gossip. The men would come home and enjoy the Thanksgiving leftovers before they started butchering the deer. Sounds like something from another century, right? Kind of matches the picture, and we are part Cherokee, although y…

Demonic Turkeys

Since this is my first post with the Casablanca Babes, I thought I'd take a minute to introduce myself before I get into the meat (or turkey, considering it’s almost Thanksgiving!) of my post.

For those who don’t know me, I’m new to the Casablanca line. My first release with Sourcebooks, TEMPTED, hits store shelves in October 2011. This is actually the third book in my Eternal Guardians series. The first two books, MARKED and ENTWINED, released in May and August, respectively. In addition to dark paranormals, I also write sexy romantic suspense and my next RS release is an anthology with Kensington in June. If you’d like to learn more about me and my books, I’d love it if you’d stop by my website at http://www.elisabethnaughton.com/ (and be sure to drop me a note if you do!)

Okay, now on to the fun stuff…Turkey Day! I hate to admit it, but I’m not a big fan of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. (And I hope I’m not going to be blackballed admitting that on my first day!) It’s not t…

A Fantasy Thanksgiving

My December release, BENEATH THE THIRTEEN MOONS, is just around the corner, so I’d like to share a Thanksgiving dinner that might be eaten on this fantasy world of Sea Forest. It’s a landless planet where giant trees grow up from the ocean floor to support all life within their canopy, so since it will be an unusual meal, I will be describing many of the items I mention in the book for the feast.

You could drink some water from the globe of a krizm vine, which is red. Don’t pick the pink globe, cause that’s a dedo—a creature that mimics the krizm, but bursts out of its shell on contact and forms a hellish cage to strangle whatever touched it.

Although you might prefer something stronger, like quas-juice, which is an alcoholic beverage fermented from a purplish plant that grows near the top of the enormous trees, where they store fresh water from the nightly rain.

Grilled pig-fish and chaka eggs would accompany a meal in the swamplands. Chaka eggs are from a chicken that has adapted to S…

Blest Be The Tie That Binds

By Mary Margret DaughtridgeWhen I was a little girl, Thanksgiving dinner preparations started in July. We might have roast turkey or sweet potato pie anytime there was a large crowd coming to dinner. But pickled peaches were a delicacy, reserved for state occasions and religion-sanctioned holidays. Like Thanksgiving."Getting ready for Thanksgiving” officially began on whatever hot day in July Daddy came home with a couple of bushels of glowing, golden peaches.With Mama issuing orders, we sprang into action. No cooking dinner today. Yellow freestone peaches (not too big, not too small) at the exact, perfect stage of ripe-yet-firm and ready to be pickled, waited for no woman.My brother David (In my movie-memory of those days he’s always around eleven with serious blue eyes and crew-cut, blond hair) was sent to the pantry to bring out cartons of dusty canning jars.I was set to washing them at the sink. At nine, I was too young to be trusted, and too short anyway, to put the washed …

Thanksgiving Goodies!

*sigh* I just love Thanksgiving. For me, there's nothing quite like the aroma of roasting turkey, and I'd probably bake one whether anyone was there to share it with me or not.

I remember lots of wonderful Thanksgivings at my grandmother's house, but for the past twenty years, it's just been me, my DH, and my two sons at the table. Having another woman on hand to help with the clean-up would be nice, but since Mike usually volunteers, I'm not complaining!

The following is a recipe I got from my grandmother about thirty years ago, and it's my favorite Thanksgiving/Christmas/pitch-in side dish. It's easy to make, easy to transport, and I haven't met anyone yet who doesn't like it.

POTATO CASSEROLE

1 pkg Ore-Ida hash brown patties (27 oz) thawed and crumbled up
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ cup chopped onion
1 can Campbell's cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

Mix all together and spread in greased 9 X 13 pan
Mix one sti…

EMOTION IN MOTION

By Deb Werksman
Editorial Manager
Sourcebooks Casablanca

One of the things that’s so wonderful about the romance category is that it crosses over so beautifully with the sci-fi/fantasy category in paranormal romance and with the mystery/thriller category in romantic suspense.
However, each of these categories is distinct, both at the bookstore level with different buyers, and at the level of reader expectations.
In the romance category, the relationship between the hero and heroine—the love story—is the raison d’etre for the book. It must be central to the plot and the tension between them must be sustained throughout the entire story. Where in the sci-fi/fantasy category the world-building is the raison d’etre of the book, in paranormal romance the world-building must take second place to the love story. Where in mystery/thriller the suspense is the raison d’etre, in romantic suspense, the suspense must take second place to the love story.
The reason I bring it up is becaus…

A British Thanksgiving

This month we’re remembering holiday meals of years' past. I don’t have a story about a meal that came out wrong. No one trusts me to cook. For example, this year I am charged with bringing fruit salad to Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve been told it’s because I do such a nice fruit salad. Uh-huh.

I do have a story about a memorable Thanksgiving. In 2000 I was in Leeds, England visiting a friend over the week of Thanksgiving. She’s an American and was without family that Thanksgiving. I wanted to get away because my fiancĂ© had dumped me and called off the wedding a few months before…but that’s a different story.

So there we were in England. It was cold and rainy and damp as only northern England can be. I brought two cans of pumpkin in my suitcase, so my friend and I could have some sort of Thanksgiving meal in between visiting the home of the Brontes and stopping in every local pub in the greater Leeds area. I had an affinity for cider that year.

So Thanksgiving Day we walked to the grocer…

Turkeys at the Table

by Joanne Kennedy
When we gather around the table on Thanksgiving Day, we should recognize the fine qualities of the all-American turkey - you know, the extraordinarily fat, round one lying flat on his back with his legs sticking up in the air. No, I'm not talking about Grandpa Joe over there on the sofa digesting his dinner; I'm talking about the actual turkey.


His supine pose isn't the only similarity the festive fowl bears to your family and friends. Take a good look at a real live turkey sometime. A tom turkey has a wrinkly face, beetled brows, wattles, and hair in his ears - just like Grandpa Joe. He's constantly red in the face from exertion and fury, and is so profoundly overweight that he has difficulty standing upright even when he's not watching a bowl game on ESPN. Hens, on the other hand, are thinner and seem to be in a perpetual state of frazzled panic - just like the cook in the kitchen.


Glancing around the table, you might note other similarities betwe…

Recipes? From me???

Trust me, you don't want my cooking. But my mother-in-law is an excellent cook and hosts Thanksgiving each year. She's from Slovania and has a fascinating life story.

Back when her home was known as Yugoslavia and was under communist rule, she was smuggled out of the country to relatives in France. From there, she was sent on to Canada where there was an arranged marriage waiting for her. She was 16 years old.

She stayed in that marriage hoping love would grow, but it never did. Fortunately, she had a wonderful daughter to love and is now a loving grandmother. She's back in Canada visiting them as we speak.

For her, hard work has never been a burden...it's just part of life. I admire so many things about her, and I'm glad she finally found love. My father-in-law has just been through a bout of Cancer. A brilliant new treatment saved his life and he's now cancer free. I'd never heard of it before, but I haven't kept up with the medical advances that have o…

No (Turkey) Soup for You!

Thanksgiving for my family means birthdays. We have 3 members of my immediate and extended family (families?) who have birthdays, so in addition to the normal Turkey Day fare, I have to work in birthday cakes and ice cream.Trust me, the kids, especially, don't complain. They never were big on pumpkin pie, and while they didn't used to like my homemade apple pie, they've started to. Hubs always put in requests for cherry or blueberry pies, so we already have enough deserts (the extended family isn't that big!). Toss in THREE birthday cakes, and we might as well forego the turkey and all the trimmings.

This year, that's what we're going to do. But we'll forego the birthday cakes, too.This year, we're doing something different.

My children have been lucky enough to grow up in a good neighborhood, with nice things, tons of friends, lots of support, good schools. All the things you want for your kids, and we're glad to give them.

But it's sort of blinde…

A Hexy Thanksgiving

“I don’t know if three turkeys will be enough,” Blair said, surveying the kitchen counters covered with roasting pans, mixing bowls, and various pots and pans on the stove. “Trust me, Jake eats a lot. There are all you can eat buffets that won’t let us come back.”

“And you demolishing the desert table doesn’t have something to do with that? The turkeys are twenty-six pounds apiece. We’ll be fine.” Stasi covered the sweet potatoes with marshmallows and popped them into the hot oven so they could brown. She paused long enough to sneak a treat to Bogie who barked his thanks and floated toward his soft and comfy bed.

“You did use cream and real butter in the mashed potatoes, didn’t you?” Irma wandered in with Phinneas, her spectral beau, in tow. “It’s what gives them the proper taste.” She heaved a deep sigh. “I miss eating.” She glared at Jazz. “You could let me change my wardrobe, but not allow me to eat? Get working on that spell, missy.”

“Yeah, like that’ll happen,” Jazz muttered.

“It’s a…

Thanksgiving Dinner Was Great, BUT Afterward...

My daughter sprang a birthday party surprise on me this year, which was much fun and a couple of my coworkers attended, but most of the other party goers don't know me all that well. So when we were playing a guessing game--others were trying to guess the card in my hand that was Thanksgiving, and I said, "Hornets," for the clue.

My coworker, fan and friend jumped up and shouted, "Thanksgiving!"

And of course everyone wanted to know how hornets came to be related to Thanksgiving.



It was a cold, sleeting, stormy Thanksgiving (in Central Texas, we rarely get that kind of weather),



but my daughter, mother and I had a delightful Thanksgiving dinner.




Afterward, we were planning on watching a funny new Jackie Chan movie and my daughter turned it on while I started a fresh log in the fireplace. You know, one of those kinds that burn for 5 or 6 hours.

The movie is starting, the fire is catching hold, we're all getting ready to curl up on the sofas and watch the show when…

The Perfect PR Recipe

I spend a lot of time thinking about what will “break” a book—what does it take to bring a book to not only its fullest potential, but also the next level? I wish there was a direct answer, but something I’ve learned over my almost 3 years with Sourcebooks is that each book and author is different, but by starting out small and (sometimes slowly) building upwards and outwards, world domination is just around the corner.

For example, when I started in late 2007, we had 2 romance novels (Hundreds of Years to Reform a Rake by Laurie Brown and No Regrets by Michele Ann Young) and 1 Georgette Heyer novel (Cotillion) in stores. Now, Sourcebooks Casablanca publishes 5-8 mass market romance novels each month, by February 2012 we’ll be the North American publisher of all of Heyer’s novels (including a rare reprint of her book of short stories!), and we’re home to authors who are trying new things in the romance genre, not to mention a fun and busy group blog where you can find so many of them i…

Far From Home

by Olivia Cunning

My mom has always cooked Thanksgiving dinner for our family. Well, as far back as I can remember, she has. My dad joined the army when I was three years old and I don't remember the big family gatherings hosted by my grandmother prior to our military family days. My family hails from Northeastern Missouri, but being stationed all over the country and even overseas during my father's 20-year-career, we were always far from home during Thanksgiving. I'm sure it was hard on my mom, being so far from her parents and sister, aunts, uncles, and cousins, but she never showed it. You know, the older you get, the more you realize how great your mom really is. Some Thanksgivings, while dad was "in the field" (training exercises), Mom was a single parent with two girls, thousands of miles from home. She still made the full, giant, oh-so-delicious meal and saved leftovers in the freezer for dad's return. We got two Thanksgivings those years. One without…

Pass the Turnips

by Amanda Forester

When I was growing up my mom did most of the cooking. Correction… except for my feeble attempts at “yogurt parfait surprise” for mother’s day, my mom did ALL the cooking. There was a reason for this. She was a good cook. She added butter, garlic, and sherry in some combination to just about every dish – good stuff!

Thanksgiving in our house was significant amount of work for my mom. My dad did help with the turkey (he made the cute little white decorations that went around the drumsticks) and he would proudly display the bird roasted to golden perfection (by my mother).

Now I’m not saying my dad hasn't learned to cook over the years. He now makes a mean roast beef and a mouth watering salmon. But early in his cooking career he made some less than appetizing food choices, such as “can salad” which consisted of opening whatever cans he found in the cabinet and mixing them together (yech!). But his greatest food disaster can be summed in two words:

Turnips Molé.

Yes, th…

Sharon shares some memories

One day in July 2008 I walked into the lobby of the Marriott in San Francisco and encountered something terrifying. Hitting me like a shockwave was the cacophony of hundreds of voices coming from the hundreds of women gathered in one place to celebrate the romance novel. It was the Romance Writers of America National Conference and this non-RWA member was in town to meet her publicist and editor for the first time. My debut novel was scheduled for release some eight months in the future and up to that moment I had never spoken with another author let alone actually met one. I was absolutely terrified.

By the end of the next day I not only had met my editor and publicist, the amazing Deb Werksman and Danielle Jackson respectively, but also my publisher Dominique Raccah - that being a breathtaking surprise I never anticipated. Adding to the surprises in store for me was the wonder of community among romance novelists (I joined the RWA immediately upon returning home), the feeling of bel…