If you haven’t read the third book in my Calusa Town Tales series, it is on sale today for 99 cents. Some other clean romances are also on this after Easter sale at victoriapinder.com/category/blog.
I am a big fan of the Food channel, so I incorporated some of what I’ve watched into my novel, Island Dream.
“Zumba teacher Isabella Ramos moved from Miami to quirky, small town Calusa to open a restaurant. Luc Girard arrives on the Florida island to become a painter, or so he says. The attraction is instant. But the secret he’s keeping threatens to deflate their relationship like a fallen soufflé. It takes the right mixture of ingredients for dreams to come true.”
Here is a recipe from Food Network’s Ingrid Hoffman that Isabella might make although to lighten it up, she might substitute ground turkey and use cooking spray instead of the olive oil. It makes about 6 cups.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 pound ground beef or combination of beef chorizo, and pork
1/3 cup dry white wine or dry sherry
10 cherry tomatoes, chopped or 1 (8-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1/3 cup tomato paste
1/3 cup chopped pimento stuffed Spanish olives with 1 tablespoon brine from jar
1/3 cup raisins
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and bay leaves and saute until onion is soft, stirring frequently, about 4 minutes.
- Add ground beef to skillet and cook until browned. Once the meat is browned, carefully away from the flame, tilt pan and remove excess fat with a large spoon.
- Add the white wine and stir for another minute. Then add the chopped cherry tomatoes, tomato paste, pimento stuffed Spanish olives, raisins, dried oregano, cumin and cayenne pepper. Simmer over low heat for another 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve warm:
- As a filling for empanadas or tacos
- Over white rice with fried plantains or black beans
- With a side salad and black beans
- To make Picadillo soupier for serving over rice, add additional wine, chicken or beef stock.
If you decide to buy my book, I’d be really grateful if you would post a review on Amazon or Goodreads.
Are you a Peeps fan? To me, Easter would not be complete without these little critters. I currently have a package in the freezer, so I wouldn’t be tempted to eat them ahead of time.
I didn’t hard boil any eggs this year, but I often pull these out for table decorations on Easter.
The two on top in this basket are actual uncooked eggs with the insides blown out before decorating. The others are wooden. No, I did not make any of them myself. I am nowhere near skilled enough to achieve such an artform. These are known as pysanky. This is a Ukrainian custom using wax, similar to batik, to create the elaborate designs.
I’d love to hear about your traditions. In the comments, tell me how you celebrate this holiday.
Have you ever bought a car and the started seeing the same model everywhere you went? I mentioned last week I wish I knew some authors of “seasoned romances” and then saw the announcement for this sale on Facebook. It’s probably too small to read here, so go to this link for a bigger display. The sale will be over, but I bet you can still get some good deals. Happy reading.
Like many authors, I am a member of the Romance Writers of America. They have recently revamped their website and have separate “forums” where various topics can be addressed.
I just learned there is now a romance novel category called “seasoned.” No, this is not about stories set in restaurants. It features heroines and heroes who are, gasp, age 30 or more.
In a world where 60 is the new 40, or whatever the phrase is now, do we really consider 30 to be seasoned? I don’t know about you, but I was barely hitting my stride at age 30.
Have you read any books with “older” protagonists? I haven’t yet and would love some suggestions.
The island where I live has a thriving community theater group headed by an extremely talented young woman. She directs, builds sets, acts. But the thing I find most impressive is that she is also a playwright.
She has adapted several books into scripts for the group, condensing the number of people in the cast to fit the confines of her space and her pool of actors. Of course, she also uses already published plays if they fit her requirements.
It is fun to see people you know taking on a character in a play. It is also amazing to see the sets, props, and costumes that can be created on a limited budget. I commend their ingenuity.
Before I moved to Florida, I participated in two community theater companies. I performed with one and worked backstage with the other on sets and props. I have thought about becoming involved with this local playhouse, but I am committed to my singing group and really don’t have the time to devote to both. Maybe some day.
Last fall, I began to write a Christmas-themed book featuring a theater group to add to my Calusa Town Tales series. I’ve tabled it for now until I finish the non-Calusa book I’m working on.
Do you enjoy Christmas books? What scenes do you like to see included?
We authors lead such glamorous lives (not).
Here I am ready to sign books at a place called the Shell Factory. It is a large building selling not only shells, but also toys, Christmas ornaments, and other miscellany. It is currently being remodeled, so my fellow romance author Diana Welker and I were seated amid video games, a pool table and a pizza counter.
Sales-wise, Diana did better than I today. I couldn’t even give away the candy I brought to tempt readers. I did get a few people to sign up for my newsletter.
Oh, well, Better luck next time.
I’ll be one of seven local SW Florida authors signing our books today.
Book signings are a bit of a gamble. You never know how many people will show up and if they’ll be interested in your books. While I’m there, I hope to get the email addresses of lots of people to add to my newsletter list.
If you live in the area, I’d love to meet you.