Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Home from RWA 2018 (AKA Rita Hunting Season is now officially closed)

It's Tuesday, I am home from Denver. RWA 2018 is in the bag.  What an incredible experience to be part of the RITA whirl. I am so proud of my little story, "Dancing with the Duke's Heir."  I enjoyed meeting so many people and making new connections. As always, I adore meeting readers at the Harlequin signing, which is one of my favorite events, and at the literacy signing.  This year I did a signing for Montlake, too, which was great.

I was also so proud to be part of Harlequin Books. The publishing house led the way with the most RITA nominations (13) and I believe the most wins (4). BUT, more than that, I was proud of how professionally Harlequin represented themselves. Their events were well thought out, put together with polish, and  were aimed at all aspects of conference attendee. There were events for the Harlequin author, the Harlequin reader, the prospective author, and events for agents.

Now, it's time to get back to work. Book #3 of the Royals of Kuban is due out next week, "Awakened by the Prince's Passion," so there's reviewing and launch work to do. Book #2 of next year's series will be back next week for revisions from my editor, so there's no rest!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Blog Hop Winner!

Suzannah Clark is our blog hop winner! I am excited to get these awesome stories in your hands so you can get reading.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Welcome to the summer blog hop!

Ready to hit the beach with some great reads? Answer this question about Innocent in the Prince's Bed to win books 1 and 2 in The Royals of Kuban series plus a read-it-before it's released copy of Awakened by the Prince's Passion (due out Aug. 1!).

What figure from Russian folklore does Illarion, the former Kubanian prince poet laureate, compare Dove to? Need a hint? She can't leave her father's forests and longs to be human. She is granted her wish for one day. She lingers with the other young maids in the spring/summertime of her mother only to leap over a bonfire and vanish into the clouds. There are many versions of her story and that is one of them.
 Winner drawn from all correct answers and winner will be posted June 27

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

RWA Literacy Book Signing, July 2018
Come out and see me for a good cause!

2018-03_RWA_Literacy Autograph_Instagram.jpg
How to Make Blini

Blini are Russian pancakes. They are a featured food in "Compromised by the Prince's Touch," Book #1 in The Royals of Kuban series. Check out the house party breakfast scene where they become a point of interest between our hero, Nikolay, and the villain, Amesbury.  Blini can be thick or they can be thin like crepes. They can be topped with anything. Traditional toppings include berries, sour cream and caviar. And, they are delicious!  Many Russian holidays and special occasions feature blini. 

Image result for blini
Blini with sour cream and caviar as featured at

Hungry now?
Here's a recipe to try blini on your own (or you can see the recipe in original form here: https://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/true-russian-blini

  • 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 cup warm water (115°)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups warm milk, or a little more as needed
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for brushing the blini
  • 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar, or more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons salt, or more to taste
  • 2 large eggs, separated, yolk beaten
  • Peanut oil for frying
  • 1 small potato, halved
For Serving: melted butter, sour cream, at least two kinds of smoked fish, caviar if you wish, and strawberry jam.
Make the sponge: In a large mixing bowl, stir together the yeast, water, and sugar and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Place the sponge, covered, in a warm place until bubbly and almost doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Into this sponge, beat in the milk, butter, 2 1/4 cups of the flour, egg yolks, sugar, and salt. Whisk the batter until completely smooth and set to rise, covered loosely with plastic, until bubbly and doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. Stir the batter well and let rise, once more in a warm place, covered, for 45 minutes. Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks and fold them into the batter.
Pour some oil into a small shallow bowl and have it ready by the stove. Skewer a potato half on a fork and dip it into the oil. Rub the bottom of a 7-inch cast iron skillet or a heavy non-stick pan with a long handle liberally with the oil. Heat the pan over medium heat for 1 1/2 minutes. Using a potholder, grip the skillet by the handle, lift it slightly off the heat and tilt in toward you at a 45-degree angle. Using a ladle, pour enough batter into the skillet to cover the bottom in one thin layer (about 1/4 cup). Let the batter run down the skillet, quickly tilting and rotating it until the batter covers the entire surface. Put the skillet back on the burner and cook until the top of the blini is bubbly and the underside is golden, about 1 minute. Turn the blini and cook for 30 seconds more, brushing the cooked side with a little melted butter. If the skillet looks dry when you are turning the blini, rub with more oil.
Repeat with the rest of the batter, greasing the pan with the oiled potato before making each blini. Slide each blini as it is made into a deep bowl, keeping the cooked blini covered with a lid or foil. Serve the blini hot, with the suggested garnishes.

Welcome Spring Russian style with Maslenitsa


It's finally spring here in the Pacific Northwest. It comes so late, we almost miss it. It's May now and we are careening towards midsummer in just a few weeks with hours and hours of daylight.  Whether it's May Day and moving the cattle to the summer pastures, or Maslenitsa, the world is full of celebrations that surround the arrival of spring.  Maslenitsa is mentioned twice in the Royals of Kuban series. First, it's mentioned as the theme for Klara's house party in Richmond where the plotters gather to plan revolution, in Book #1 Compromised by the Prince's Touch. It's also mentioned in Book #3, out Aug. 1, 2018, Awakened by the Prince's Kiss. So, what is this festival?

Maslenitsa celebrates the coming of spring. This year, it was celebrated March 4-10. It's a Russian holiday that changes every year in order to correspond to the Russian Orthodox calendar. Some call it Russian Mardi Gras since it take place the week before the beginning of Russian Orthodox Lent.
Like Mardi Gras, this is a week of feasting. In case you're wondering, maslo is the Russian word for butter, and sometimes, Maslenitsa is referred to as butter week.

The week is full of foods and traditions as people say good bye to the winter and hello to spring.
The big foods associated with the holiday are blini! (Russian pancakes). These are eaten with all kinds of toppings like berries or caviar or even sour cream. You can look the blini and other traditions here on this fun video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHvOilwKxkk

Other traditional foods include sweets made with honey.

Non-food based traditions include burning Maslenitsa, as you can see in the video. Maslenitsa is burned on the last day of the festival to usher out winter.
Image result for why do we burn maslenitsa
photo of Maslenitsa from Dreamstime.com

Thursday, March 22, 2018

2018 RITA® Finalist: Dancing with the Duke's Heir (in the anthology Scandal at the Christmas Ball)

Yesterday it happened! I got THE CALL while I was madly typing away on a book due Sunday.  Carolyn Jewel called to tell me "Dancing with the Duke's Heir" was a finalist for best novella.  Shocked doesn't even begin to cover it, not because I didn't think it was a good story--I think it's a great story, that's why I entered it--but because who knows how these things go? A lot of good stories are entered every year and quite a few them don't quite make the cut, so there's always a lot of hope and luck behind the entries we all send off.

It's great to have it happen this year-- the conference is in Denver, just a short flight from my home, so I can afford to go, my agent will be there, and this novella is my 40th release for Harlequin, so it's a special story in that regard, too.  And also, I think the Brockmore series as a whole is a really classy collaboration/continuity effort that I was proud to do with Marguerite Kaye. So, I love that a piece of that continuity has a chance to get some recognition.

Thanks to all of you in the writing community who turned out online yesterday with so many thoughtful congratulations and well-wishes. They are much appreciated.

As a small thank you to all those who have supported me, I have posted an excerpt from the story here: https://www.overdrive.com/media/3272817/scandal-at-the-christmas-ball