12/22/2012

Holiday Dessert Blog Hop

Alright then... I have two of these posts to write tonight, so no messing about, hey!

This is the Holiday Dessert Blog Hop...

I'm going to share my favorite Christmas cookie recipe with you...and then you'll have the chance to win copies of my two new holiday stories... (See Below for details!)
This recipe is one my grandma made every year. It was a favorite in her house, and now I make it every holiday as well.
Spritz Cookies
1 pound butter
1 cup of sugar
1 well beaten egg
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups flour

Preheat oven to 400. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat together. Add vanilla. Sift flour into the mixture. Beat well. Put dough through cookie press into desired shapes. Bake four 4-5 minutes on ungreased cookie sheets. Cookies are done when bottom is browned. Makes roughly 100 bite size cookies.

Now...you know you can change that up. Use lemon or almond instead vanilla...dip cooled cookies in chocolate...sprinkle tops with cinnamon sugar... oh the varieties are endless...

Ahhhh...Don't forget... you need to skip down below and leave me your favorite recipe or a link to your favorite, to be entered to win these two books!


The Interview
When Ben learns his lover's business travel means he'll be gone for the holidays,
he begins to rethink their relationship.
Ben's family steps up to keep him busy,
 but does he dare ask Cris to put him before the job?


EXCERPT

"Hello." I should have checked to see who it was before I answered. It was Cris, and I had to pretend to be cheerful and brimming with Christmas spirit when I was anything but.
"Hey Ben, I just called to remind you to get the tree after work today. You said last night that you hadn't gotten it yet, and I know it's one of your favorite things to do."
With you. I held the guilt inducing words back. With Cris, shopping for the perfect tree was my favorite holiday tradition. We made an event out of the whole thing. A thermos of hot cocoa with marshmallows in hand, we would wander through the tree lots looking for the perfect vehicle to display the antique and handmade ornaments that I inherited from my grandmother. We measured the distance between branches, studied every Scotch pine and every blue spruce, knowing all the while that we'd settle for a fragrant Douglas or red fir with its sturdy, widely spaced branches to show off the ornaments better.
I wasn't so much looking forward to finding a tree alone. Or decorating it alone. Hanging crocheted snowflakes, tinsel, and Grandma's vintage glass bird ornaments wouldn't have the same appeal without Cris's firm grip guiding my hand to the perfect spot on the tree. He tried very hard, my Cris, not to let his obsessive demand for symmetry and order mar the holidays, but the twitching always got to be too much. I confess, I deliberately placed an ornament or two in an awkward spot just to feel his hand on mine, the heat of his body close behind me.
"Yeah. I'll go when I get done here. Can you call me around four?" It would be a little bit better if I could talk to him about the choices, maybe send a photo of the final product.
"Ummm. I'll try, but I can't promise anything."
So I probably wouldn't even get that solace. "Okay. Call if you can. I have to go. Work awaits."
I hid in the stacks all day, shelving cart after cart of books, losing myself in the scent of leather and old paper. It beat working the counter where the aroma of pine from the decorative evergreen boughs—genuine, despite fire codes—and the peppermint of the candy dish just screamed Christmas. It beat smiling cheerfully and wishing sleep deprived teenagers a happy holiday—because it is a state funded school and Merry Christmas is just too politically incorrect.
In the end, I didn't bother with the measuring tape or the cocoa, just pointed my 67 Mustang straight for the nearest tree lot. Go in, pick a tree, go home and set it up so the branches could drop. I could do this, I didn't need Cris holding my hand to choose a tree.
And
Donovan's Deal, Truth or Dare #6
Making a family is harder than keeping house. Donovan's patience is wearing thin, but Mischa needs time to make things right.
Will Christmas bring heartache or compromise?

Mischa Blake needs the relaxation of the Blake brothers' weekly poker games now more than ever as he feels the pressure of his responsibilities as a parent, partner, and student multiplying. When one of his siblings proposes reviving their game of Truth or Dare, Mischa revolts. Instead, they all agree to share a truth, and Mischa has to decide how much of his domestic situation to share with his family.

The frantic pace of life is overwhelming, and Mischa has begun to let things slide. With the holidays just around the corner, he figures his current situation is a temporary thing. When he misses one of his son's soccer game that Donovan left work early to attend, time runs out.

Upset by the hurt in their son's eyes, Donovan decides that something must be done. He's worried that he's pushed Mischa into doing things at the wrong time, pushed his dreams on his young lover, just pushed too hard for too much in general.

In a desperate attempt to get Mischa to think about what he wants instead of what Donovan wants, Donovan issues an ultimatum. He sends Mischa away with orders to think about his priorities.

All you have to do is leave a copy of your favorite Christmas cookie...or a link to the recipe and you'll be entered into the drawing!
The fine print...
You must leave an email address to be eligible to win. Prizes must be claimed within 7 days. Winners will be notified by email after being announced on this page on Dec 24th. Only two winners will be drawn.


12/21/2012

Ugly Stocking Blog Hopping...Dec 22-23

Winners selected by random draw are 

Shaseli and Dee. 

Thank you to everyone who stopped by- sorry for the delay, btu blogger was being ...unkind. 
Alright then... I have two of these posts to write tonight, so no messing about, hey!

This is the Fugly Stocking Blog Hop...

That's right.

You heard me.

Leave me a comment telling me about the most hideous Christmas present you ever received...

And if your name is drawn, you'll receive yet another hideous gift...

Some stylish and seasonal holiday stockings...

And a copy of my two newest holiday stories...
The Interview
When Ben learns his lover's business travel means he'll be gone for the holidays,
he begins to rethink their relationship.
Ben's family steps up to keep him busy,
 but does he dare ask Cris to put him before the job?


EXCERPT

"Hello." I should have checked to see who it was before I answered. It was Cris, and I had to pretend to be cheerful and brimming with Christmas spirit when I was anything but.
"Hey Ben, I just called to remind you to get the tree after work today. You said last night that you hadn't gotten it yet, and I know it's one of your favorite things to do."
With you. I held the guilt inducing words back. With Cris, shopping for the perfect tree was my favorite holiday tradition. We made an event out of the whole thing. A thermos of hot cocoa with marshmallows in hand, we would wander through the tree lots looking for the perfect vehicle to display the antique and handmade ornaments that I inherited from my grandmother. We measured the distance between branches, studied every Scotch pine and every blue spruce, knowing all the while that we'd settle for a fragrant Douglas or red fir with its sturdy, widely spaced branches to show off the ornaments better.
I wasn't so much looking forward to finding a tree alone. Or decorating it alone. Hanging crocheted snowflakes, tinsel, and Grandma's vintage glass bird ornaments wouldn't have the same appeal without Cris's firm grip guiding my hand to the perfect spot on the tree. He tried very hard, my Cris, not to let his obsessive demand for symmetry and order mar the holidays, but the twitching always got to be too much. I confess, I deliberately placed an ornament or two in an awkward spot just to feel his hand on mine, the heat of his body close behind me.
"Yeah. I'll go when I get done here. Can you call me around four?" It would be a little bit better if I could talk to him about the choices, maybe send a photo of the final product.
"Ummm. I'll try, but I can't promise anything."
So I probably wouldn't even get that solace. "Okay. Call if you can. I have to go. Work awaits."
I hid in the stacks all day, shelving cart after cart of books, losing myself in the scent of leather and old paper. It beat working the counter where the aroma of pine from the decorative evergreen boughs—genuine, despite fire codes—and the peppermint of the candy dish just screamed Christmas. It beat smiling cheerfully and wishing sleep deprived teenagers a happy holiday—because it is a state funded school and Merry Christmas is just too politically incorrect.
In the end, I didn't bother with the measuring tape or the cocoa, just pointed my 67 Mustang straight for the nearest tree lot. Go in, pick a tree, go home and set it up so the branches could drop. I could do this, I didn't need Cris holding my hand to choose a tree.
And
Donovan's Deal, Truth or Dare #6
Making a family is harder than keeping house.
Donovan's patience is wearing thin, but Mischa needs time to make things right.
Will Christmas bring heartache or compromise?

Mischa Blake needs the relaxation of the Blake brothers' weekly poker games now more than ever as he feels the pressure of his responsibilities as a parent, partner, and student multiplying. When one of his siblings proposes reviving their game of Truth or Dare, Mischa revolts. Instead, they all agree to share a truth, and Mischa has to decide how much of his domestic situation to share with his family.

The frantic pace of life is overwhelming, and Mischa has begun to let things slide. With the holidays just around the corner, he figures his current situation is a temporary thing. When he misses one of his son's soccer game that Donovan left work early to attend, time runs out.

Upset by the hurt in their son's eyes, Donovan decides that something must be done. He's worried that he's pushed Mischa into doing things at the wrong time, pushed his dreams on his young lover, just pushed too hard for too much in general.

In a desperate attempt to get Mischa to think about what he wants instead of what Donovan wants, Donovan issues an ultimatum. He sends Mischa away with orders to think about his priorities.

Okay...you don't really get that particular pair of ugly socks, because I have had enough of the post office this holiday season. I'm just going to send you an Amazon gift card for a pair of ugly socks...I hope you don't mind?
The fine print...
You must leave an email address to be eligible to win. Prizes must be claimed within 7 days. Winners will be notified by email after being announced on this page. Only two winners will be drawn on Dec 24th. 
 Check out some other great giveaways at 


Ali Wile & Andy Slayde - http://aliandandy.wordpress.com/

Victoria Blisse - http://victoriablisse.co.uk




12/18/2012


Crawling Into Bed With Adrien Soto
And a Good Book : The Counterfeit Claus

Important things first, are these sheets silk or cotton?

*Aye, Dios* Do I look like a rich man to you? Cotton, Lee, Cotton. Though, if Adrien is partial to silk, I will find a way.


What are you wearing?

*Mierda* Was I supposed to have clothing on? Ay-ay-ay. So sorry.

What are we snacking on in bed while we read tonight?
Ah, Lee, I have a treat for you. These are made from the recipe *mi madre* taught me. *Tostones* Ah, fried plaintains. They are very firm bananas. I think you like this, yes?


If I open this nightstand drawer, what will I find?

--gently pushing the drawer closed--Ah, that is where I keep Adrien's special toys, *si?* He is very shy, or I would let you see. Look on the other side if you like... that is where I keep the naughty books I read to him. We have many good books in there!


Do you roll up in the blankets like a burrito, or kick the covers off during the night?

You are very funny. I--neither. I curl around Adrien. He gets cold at night, and when he wakes, this wakes me. So I keep him warm, and we both sleep well.

Can I put my cold feet on your calves to warm them up?
*Si*, but you must help me to explain this to Adrien. He is so sensitive about these things. --shrugging--I do not understand why. My heart belongs to him. To warm your feet is ony the act of kindness, *si?*

What are we reading?
Ah, this is my favorite. This is the story of how Adrien and I met. It is called The Counterfeit Claus. Here, I will show you a picture... you can not see in this picture, because I block the view... Adrien has the most luscious bottom. Round and full, and Ay-ay-ay. *Aye Dios*
I think perhaps you must pardon me for a moment.

*Ahem*
Adrien is the sweet klutz on the right... I am standing in front to make sure he does not fall off the platform he was placed on for the picture. --winking at Lee--



Blurb:
It's just an average day at the local mall's Christmas Village... there's an elf shortage, no manager in sight, and an unknown person hiding behind a big white beard. Still, everything is under control. Mostly. Sort of... until the klutziest elf of all slips onto the scene in slick bottomed, pointy-toed shoes... and slides right into the waiting arms of the Counterfeit Claus.

Excerpt:
By the time Adrien figured out he didn’t have everything under control—and that he couldn’t even pull off a controlled crash without risking really hurting one of the smaller kids in the line he’d already overbalanced. He flung his arms out behind him, hoping to fall away from the kids. His feet sliding out in front of him answered his wish in seconds.

Adrien was going to end the day in one of the local hospitals, having traumatized countless kids in the process, because even if his brother Sam wasn’t here to catch the footage and post it to YouTube, dollars to donuts someone had their phone out and was already taping his latest bit of clumsiness. 

He had an awful vision of mean bully older kids with hard faces showing the clip to horrified five, six and seven year olds for years to come. A whole generation of kids would forever think of Christmas as “the season when clumsy elves die.” As he slid past Santa’s throne in an ungainly skid headed more toward the horizontal than the vertical, Michael launched himself off the platform yelling at the top of his fool lungs. “Noooooooo!”

Remembering the horde of pint-sized shoppers watching in horror, Adrien kept his composure enough to bite back the utterance fighting to get out of his throat, which was a hearty “OH SHIT!” He didn’t even cry out Michael’s name. He wanted to do anything necessary in a desperate attempt to get the big goof-ball to use some of those finely tuned military police skills he loved bragging about. They would come in uber-handy for saving Adrien’s ass right about now. 

Michael hit the floor with a sickening thud. Adrien winced, both in anticipation of his own eminent thud, and at Michael’s having hurt himself to no good effect. The big idiot belly flopping on the floor couldn’t possibly save Adrien. 

Except, somehow, it did.

Adrien had forgotten to take into account how the slick velvet of the Santa suit would keep Michael sliding forward. Just before Adrien hit the floor, Michael was there. He’d turned half on his side, and managed to catch Adrien’s head in the palm of one broad hand. 

Adrien realized several pertinent facts simultaneously. The man in the shiny red Santa suit, the same one who had saved him from what could easily have been a serious injury, was not Michael. His fluffy white beard was twisted half off his face, showing a stubble-covered jaw that looked positively edible. A tsunami of lust crashed down on Adrien, and the only coherent thought he could muster for a second had to do with wanting to spend a few weeks nibbling on the not-Michael Santa. Reason returned with the realization that Adrien had fallen in a weird pretzel twist that showed off his flexibility in the most humiliating way possible. 

His left ankle ended up somewhere around his right ear, his right leg bent and twisted so that leg was under his butt. His left arm was flung up above his head. He’d even managed to smack himself with his right hand. Sheesh. His only saving grace in the whole ridiculous mess was that the undignified heap he was in fell squarely between the counterfeit Santa and the kids.

The breadth of his shoulders, while not god-like, was enough to hide Santa’s dishabille for a critical few seconds. Thinking quickly, he decided to camp things up so the adult guests of Christmas Village could be left with a scrap of plausible deniability when their young charges started questioning Santa’s very un-Santa like behavior. 

“Oh, Santa, I didn’t see the ice! That must be why you’re always telling all the elves to walk carefully.” Adrien used every bit of his high school theater training to project his voice as he wiggled closer to the strange Santa facing him. As soon as the crowd behind them broke out in exclamations, he leaned forward. Whispering quickly, in barely audible tones, Adrien broke the bad news. “Santa, your beard is broken. Pretend you’ve got to take me to Mrs. Claus for a quick bit of mothering, and then carry me out of here so we can hide your face.”

Santa’s big brown eyes widened and then narrowed intently. His voice came out in an equally hushed baritone. “Mierda! I don’t care how cute you are… I am not picking you up, Papi.”

The man’s voice poured into Adrien’s ears hotly, an aural aphrodisiac. He closed his eyes for a split second. Between falling three times in less than two hours and the effect Counterfeit Claus was having on his libido, he really might need to be carried. Adrien sucked in a deep breath. “Crap-Doodly.” 

Be Yourself

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. ~e.e. cummings, 1955