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Summer Solstice Supper and Book Buffet



Skip over my drivel (albeit insightful and downright entertaining,) if you prefer, but DO NOT pass up on the opportunity to sample the tasty delights Linda Joyce has in store for us. Like these luscious cupcakes..yummy!

Summer Solstice–the longest day of the year. Mnalukataq1ore sunshine and happiness for everyone.  Everyone who isn’t above the Arctic Circle that is. Folks in my old stomping grounds of Barrow, Alaska have been enjoying twenty-four hour daylight since mid-May and will continue to do so until August.  The summer solstice there means Nalukataq–the blanket toss–celebrations of a successful whaling season.  It means the ice that has covered the Arctic Ocean for months and months will soon break away from shore and folks can head out to their fish camps.

Here in my new home in the Ozarks, it means a party on the deck, overlooking the pond where the ducks swim merrily.  I kind of miss frozen bodies of water and summers where the temperatures soar to 60 degrees–for an hour or two at a time.

I do have to say that this summer solstice is particularly fun. The brilliant Linda Joyce has worked with several authors to create a summer solstice blog hop. Not only will you get to meet tons of great authors, you’ll find the ingredients to numerous, mouth-watering recipes.

I think I’m going to start with Kathy L Wheeler’s Pomegranate Martini–trust me, Kathy won’t steer you wrong on booze, basketball or books.

Then, Jan Morrill’s Japanese Chicken Wings sound like the perfect appetizer followed by AJ Nuest’s 7-layer salad.

Decisions, decisions. Do I go with the Juli Revezzo’s oven-fried peach chicken or Betty Bolte’s Nutty Pork Chops?

I’m dying to try Gina Hooten Popp’s kolaches and have you ever known me to turn down an after-dinner cocktail or any cocktail for that matter? So, some of Sandra Sookoo’s After Dinner Iced Coffee for me, please.

Visit Linda’s blog for the ingredients for each recipe, as well as other tantalizing tidbits, (my tidbit appears below the menu) such as book covers and tasty morsels about each author whose name appears on the menu below. Her blog also has links to each author’s blog or website where you can find additional details about the author and her book AND the full recipe. Here’s Linda Joyce’s blog link: http://lindajoycecontemplates.wordpress.com/


Blackberry Gin and Tonic by J.K. O’Hanlon –Three Ingredient Cocktails

Pomegranate Martini by Kathy L Wheeler – Quotable


Japanese Chicken Wings by Jan Morrill –The Red Kimono

Sweet & Sour Hawaiian Meatballs by Vonnie Davis – Rain Is A Love Song

Easy Stuffed Mushrooms by Alicia Dean – Liberty Awakened (Isle of Fangs, Book 1)


7 Layer Salad by AJ Nuest –  She’s Got Dibs

Mandarin Orange & Spinach Salad by Barbara Barrett – And He Cooks Too


Pesto Chicken by Nancy Parra – Gluten for Punishment

Taquitos by Calisa Rhose – Risk Factors

Linda’s Summer Shrimp Boil by Linda Joyce – Bayou Born

Oven Fried Peach Chicken Juli D. Revezzo – The Artist’s Inheritance

Betty’s Nutty Pork Chops by Betty Bolte – Hometown Heroines


Kolaches by Gina Hooten Popp – The Storm After

Chocolate-Cherry-Coconut Cupcakes by Luna Zega – Tokyo Tease

Fruit Compote by Brenda Sparks – A Midsummer Night’s Demon

After Dinner Drinks

After Dinner Iced Coffee by Sandra Sookoo – Winging It

Luna’s Chocolate-Cherry-Coconut Cupcakes:


Even if you don’t make the entire recipe, you HAVE to make the frosting. It is by far the best frosting I’ve ever tasted. I just wish I had invented it AND it’s easy peasy.

Folks, these are some decadent cupcakes.

1 package 12 oz white chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter cubed
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 packages (1.9 ounce each) Mounds bars
1/2 semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon shortening
24 maraschino cherries, well drained
3 1/4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons coarse sugar

1. For ganache, place white chocolate chips and butter in a large bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream just to a boil. Pour over the chips, whisk until smooth. Stir in coconut extract. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, stirring occasionally.

2. In a large bowl, beat the pie filling, buttermilk, and eggs until well blended. Combine flour sugar and cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Gradually beat into pie fill mixture until blended.

3. Fill paper-lined muffin cups one-third full. Cut candy bars in half; place half a candy bar in center of each cupcake. Cover each with 2 tablespoonfuls of batter.

4. Bake at 375 for 16-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

5. Meanwhile, in a microwave, melt chocolate chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Dip cherries in chocolate mixture, allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed-paper-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until set.

6. Remove ganache from refrigerator; gradually beat in powdered sugar until frosting is light and fluffy. Pipe over cupcakes, sprinkle with coarse sugar. Garnish with chocolate-covered cherries.




Passion in the Orient…

All-American girl next door, Natalie, jumped at the chance to see the world when offered a job in exotic Japan. Reality, however, proves much harsher than her many dreams…until her co-worker–and the star of her every fantasy–turns up the heat. Kentaro steps behind her on their morning commute, turning the crowded train ride into a journey of sensuality. With every sway and turn, the sexy Asian god’s touch tortures and teases, arousing her with the speed of the bullet train. But this is only the beginning. Kentaro unlocks a world of exotic pleasures surpassing Natalie’s dreams.


“How’d it go with the guy you work with?” Sanchez asked.

“He still hasn’t really talked to me but . . .well . . . he kind of touched me on the train.”

“He touched you?” He bristled as if ready to defend my honor, which I had to admit warmed my heart a little. Before he worked himself into a rage, he asked. “Touched you, how?”

Too embarrassed to go into details, I skimmed over our interactions. “Well, he stood behind me and touched my stomach.” My cheeks flamed. “And well, today, he pulled me against him.”

“What do you mean?”

I raised my eyebrows hoping he’d get the gist of our exchange, but he gave no indication of comprehension. “You know…he pulled me against him so my well…backside…was against his front side.”

“Was he hard?”

The flames burning my face and scorched their way to my scalp. I nodded.

“Hot damn, Natalie. I think the guy noticed you!”

“He told me to wear a skirt tomorrow. What should I do?”

He grinned. “You should wear a skirt.”

“Therein lies the rub.”

He looked at me like I was insane. “I’m guessing he means something short and sexy.”

“Hell yeah.” Another grin, bordering on lecherous.

“I don’t have anything like that,” I explained.

“Let me see.” He stood, grabbed his wine and headed toward my bedroom.

Stumbling over myself, I finally gained my balance and hurried after him. While I wanted a man in my bedroom, one searching my closet wasn’t what I had in mind.

“Good God, woman.” Sanchez glanced at my clothes. “Do you work in a morgue?”

“No! Why?”

The scraping sound of hangers sliding across metal filled the room. “Brown, gray, black, oh, more brown. Look at this, it’s . . . nice.” He held up a gray cardigan sweater.


Is Faking It Ever Wise?

A group of lady friends and I were discussing the good, the bad, and the ugly of faking orgasms recently. Let’s face it, as a woman, you’ve faked it at least once in your life. According to a study done by Temple University (May 2011) 60% of women reported faking an orgasm during intercourse or oral sex. With 25% of men surveyed reporting the same.

The main question is: WHY???

According to the study: many of these women said they faked it due to their own fear of intimacy; they also reported faking orgasm because they felt insecure about their sexual functioning, or because they want to get it over with.

I have to admit that “fear of intimacy” was never a cause I had considered. But, as soon as I read the statement, I flashed back to one of my relationships. I was dating an older gentleman who had some issues with having sex outside of wedlock. I was all, “Let Luna help you with that.” We were together for a couple of months. Had lots of sex. I was satisfied (repeatedly,) but he was unable to reach climax. Finally, when he was comfortable enough to actually have an orgasm, we broke up. One orgasm and he was out the door. The intimacy level was too much for him.

Sure, there was no faking involved in that particular relationship, but I can understand how trusting someone enough to let go of all your inhibitions could be an issue.

I totally understand the “felt insecure about their sexual functioning.” Not now, of course. I’m completely secure with my sexuality, but it took a while for me to get to this enlightened point in my life. The first time someone goes down on you is amazing and damn scary. I was fraught with uncertainty. Where on earth should I put my hands? Now, I dig them into the person’s hair and hold on for dear life.

The first time, I freaked. I moaned when I thought it was appropriate, wiggled about and bucked every once in a while, but I had no idea how long it was supposed to take. 10 minutes? 30 minutes? Isn’t his tongue getting tired? I totally faked it. Faked it for a few months. Why? Because I was insecure about my sexual functioning.

How did I deal with it? I told the guy.

His reaction? Disappointment. He really wanted me to enjoy the entire experience.

It wasn’t like I said, “So, babe, you really suck at the whole oral thing. Do you mind taking some lessons and improving the tongue action?” No, I very calmly and politely told him my situation and he said, “I wish you would’ve told me sooner. Let’s figure out what’s going on here.”

Needless to say, we figured it out.

Now, I know what I want and what I need and I’m not afraid to tell/show a new lover what pleases me.

“Get it over with.” This one I totally understand. Recently, I was talking with a friend and mentioned that I’ve had sex with a man simply  because it was easier than saying “no.” You know what I mean. Your lover is in the mood and you’ve had that 3rd glass of wine. Your bones are liquid and all you want to do is go to sleep and your lover gets frisky. Is it worth an argument or hurting your lover’s feelings because you’re shitfaced? No. You go for it.

Your lover is getting close. Once you finally get feeling back into your nether regions, it’s still going to take a lot more action and attention that you’re willing to deal with so, “Oh. My. God! Yeah, baby. Uh, huh. That’s goooood! Give it to me.”

Then, you can roll over and go to sleep.

Sure, those are reasons folks fake orgasms. What effect does it have on you? What effect does it have on your lover? What happens to your relationship?

There are some real drawbacks to faking it. First and foremost is it’s a lie. If you’re screwing some dude you met at a bar, then fake all you want. If you’re faking it with someone you love, think before you scream “You stud!”

After faking it for a while, you’re going to eventually want to have a full-blown, knock-your-socks-off, toe curling orgasm. How do you tell your lover of six months that you’ve been faking it all along?

Most of the time, women fake it so their lovers don’t feel inadequate. Guess what? Finding out you’ve been faking is going to really hurt your lover’s feelings. Deep cuts. Painful wounds that can lead to questions such as: If she’s lying about orgasms, what else is she lying about?

Keep in mind that faking orgasms is a lot of work. Good grief! Not only are you going to get tired of acting like you’re having a great time, eventually, you’re going to resent the hell out of it. You’re going to hate sex.

Not good foundations for a relationship.

Are there times that faking is okay? Sure.

Should you fake it all the time? Absolutely not!

The most important thing is to remember that YOU deserve to be satisfied just as much as your partner does AND your partner deserves to know the truth.

Erotica Interruptus

arctic ice Three years ago, I quit my ridiculously high paying job in Northern Alaska, loaded up my cats and flew to a farm in the Ozarks to start a career as a romance author. I had no idea what I was getting into. If someone had told me then that I would be writing erotica, I would have blushed and giggled.

My,my. How times have changed!

Two main points guided my decision to move to the Ozarks. One, living 300 miles above the Arctic Circle is not conducive to creativity. It has to do with negative energy or gravity or something. Personally, I think it’s just too darn cold for the brain to function. Two, the Ozarks are glorious. Who isn’t inspired by the dogwoods of spring, the lush green fields of summer, the blazing orange and red of the autumn forests and the stark, gray, bareness of winter?

At the time, I thought an added bonus to the move would be the proximity to my family. After living 3,000 miles away from them for over a decade, I was unprepared for their family-ness.

They have no boundaries.

“Oooh, cool quilt!” Let’s walk into the bedroom and examine it. Why not sit on the bed and discuss the merits of quilts over comforters? “Hey, everyone, we’re in the bedroom. Come check out this quilt.”

“Nice dresser, but you really should organize your sock drawer better.”

For the record, 15 of my relatives can fit in my bedroom. Thankfully, I was able to stop them before they inspected the nightsummer pondstand.

Knocking? Completely out of the question. The other day, in an attempt to keep my mother (I love her dearly) at bay while I was writing, I locked the front door. Ma walked around the house to the deck, entered through that door, strolled across the living room and unlocked the front door. She thought she was being helpful because I forgot to unlock the door. Never occurred to her the lock was supposed to be a barrier to entry. Oh well.

The odd thing to me is that if the phone rings, no one would think of answering it. That would be prying. Go figure.

So, imagine these little scenarios and apply it to your writing life. Locked doors don’t keep the family out. Signs on the door that say, “Stay away. I’m writing smut,” only act as a lure. At first, I wasn’t that upset about it. They’d walk in, go to the fridge, grab a beverage and come into the living room to ask what I was up to. It didn’t bother me too much because I could pick up where I left off and continue to write the scene.

Then, I started writing erotica. Remember when you were 16 and your mother caught you making out with your boyfriend on the couch? You thought you were going to die of embarrassment, but as soon as she left the room, you started making out again. For some reason, that doesn’t work when writing about making out. Your mother walks into the room and SMACK! Every ounce of creativity slams against the computer screen and there’s no getting it back. While you were chatting with your mother about the squash bugs devouring the garden, your main character, Drake, started watching football. No matter how enticing and seductive LaFonda is, Drake’s having nothing of it.

I know, it’s fiction. I should be able to make Drake do anything I want him to do, but as you authors know, it doesn’t work that way. No amount of Spanish fly, oysters or green M&Ms is going to get him in the mood again.

I’m considering moving back to the creative-juice-sucking Arctic. It might take a little longer to get the ideas flowing, but once they’re thawed out, I wouldn’t be bothered by anyone. Shoot, there are even restaurants that deliver there. I’d never have to leave the house. Ever.

Does anyone have a better cure for erotica interruptus? I really don’t want to knit booties for my cats and don a 40# parka just so I can get a novella written.

Originally posted on Rachel Leigh’s site.