A Sure Thing and A Christmas Cookie Recipe

I’m delighted to welcome back one of my favourite romantic suspense authors, Katy Lee, who has an intriguing new book coming out. Promise Preorder

Isn’t that dog adorable?!

Okay, take it away, Katy!

Hi Everyone,

I hope you brought your sweet tooth. Tis the season to be covered in flour and chocolate as I stand among the tastiest holiday treats from my generation’s past. My kitchen has been turned into a cookie factory made from my too-numerous-to-count recipe cards that I really should rewrite sometime. However, there is just something about an old, yellowed index card with batter stains dripped on it from previous years that tells me the holidays are here.

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My gift to you today is my tasty and colorful Church Window recipe, so stay tuned for that. They not only taste yummy, but they brighten up your plate and stand out from all those tan and brown cookies. But before I pass it along, and as yummy and colorful as they are, I have to admit there is something to be said for those tan and brown cookies.

They are a sure thing.

My favorite cookie of all time is the basic homemade chocolate chip. You can’t go wrong, and when you are trying to be “good” by only taking two cookies from the table of assorted treats, you know you’ll be happy with your choice.

I like to equate a chocolate chip cookie to a favorite author. Time is limited. Money is limited. You have to be selective in your purchase, and at the bookstore with so many books to choose from, I still will grab a book by an author I know and trust. They’re the sure thing…just like that light and crispy, warm and gooey chocolate chip cookie.

The chocolate chip cookie has been branded in our minds, homes and culture since 1930 when the owner of the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts ran out of baker’s chocolate and substituted broken up pieces of a Nestle bar. She created a mixture all her own, and voilà, the cookie was found.

But only because the baker tried something new and proved there are lots more new favorites out there to be found.

So, this season I encourage you to try a new cookie recipe, and maybe even try a new author. You never know, you might find a new sure thing.

Now here’s that recipe I promised you:

Church Window Cookies

Melt 1 stick of butter/margarine and a 12 oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips in a double boiler

Once melted, remove from heat and add colored marshmallows and chopped walnuts. Mix up until chocolate covers everything.

On your counter have ready aluminum foil with coconut sprinkled in the middle. Pour marshmallows onto the coconut and form into a log. Roll to spread coconut evenly around whole log.

Wrap log up in foil and freeze. When it hardens, unroll foil and slice into ½ inch cookies.

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Bonus: Make a bunch to keep in the freezer for when you need to make a dessert for a bake sale or an impromptu visitor. People will wonder where you find the time!

Sandra here again, first with a tip: keep that foil log away from the dog. That’ll be too tempting to resist!  😉 

Permanent VacancyKaty, thanks so much for sharing this recipe. Now… Christmas will come early for one lucky participant. Katy’s giving away a copy of her June release Permanent Vacancy (US residents only). 

Here’s the question we’d like you to answer to enter:

Your Turn: What authors and cookies are your sure things?

 

And be sure to check out Katy’s newest novel: 

Silent Night Pursuit

RACE AGAINST TIME

Lacey Phillips believes Captain Wade Spencer knows something about her brother’s mysterious death. So she throws caution to the wind and tracks him down on Christmas Eve looking for answers. Wade tries to turn her away—until bullets start to fly. He doesn’t want to take the stubborn beauty on his life-or-death mission to find out the truth about how Wade’s past may have cost her brother his life. But with killers lurking everywhere, he has to protect her—especially when she breaches the walls around his heart. Can Wade and his faithful service dog keep Lacey alive long enough to figure out who’s targeting them?

 

katy_lee_rita_photoKaty Lee is the author of six published novels. She writes suspenseful romances that thrill and inspire. She believes all of her stories should stir and satisfy readers—from the edge of their seats. A native New Englander, Katy loves to knit warm wooly things. She enjoys traveling the side-roads and exploring the locals’ hideaways. A homeschooling mom of three competitive swimmers, Katy often writes from the stands while cheering them on. Her 2014 book, Grave Danger, received the highest honor in romance: a RITA® nomination in the Romantic Suspense category, as well as a nod for the Daphne du Maurier award for excellence in mystery and suspense.

Visit Katy at: www.KatyLeeBooks.com

 

Breaking News…

book-deadly-devotion

Deadly Devotion, book 1 in my Port Aster Secrets mystery series, is currently free as an Ebook at online retailers:

Kindle: http://amzn.to/1bxYfCN

Nook: http://bit.ly/16nmsaJ

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1SxxxeI

iBooks: http://apple.co/1MX0KxW

 

Join me on the More to Life Magazine’s blog for “Five Tips on Staying Healthy This Holiday Season”.

 

Warning Signs by Katy Lee – Review & Giveaway & Cool Video

I had the privilege of reading an advance copy of Katy Lee’s debut Love Inspired Suspense, Warning Signs, and unreservedly recommend it to all fans of the romantic suspense genre. This book will not disappoint. 

First the Back Cover Blurb:

Warning Signs CoverGUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT

When a drug-smuggling ring rocks a small coastal town, the DEA sends Agent Owen Matthews to shut it down. A single father with a deaf son, Owen senses that the town’s number one suspect—the high school’s new principal—doesn’t fit the profile. Miriam Hunter hoped to shrug off the stigma of her hearing impairment when she returned to Stepping Stones, Maine. But her recurring nightmares dredge up old memories that could prove her innocence—and uncover the truth behind a decades-old murder. Yet Owen’s help may not be enough when someone decides to keep Miriam silenced—permanently.

There are tons of things I love about this book. It’s fast paced. The villain is a mystery so the story keeps you guessing. It has a perfect blend of romance and suspense.

But what makes this book stand out for me is it’s unique heroine.

She is an avid swimmer and a principal of a small regular public school in Maine and she’s deaf. She refuses to let her physical challenges keep her from going after her goals.

These characteristics make for many insightful comparisons and intriguing twists, such as can we really trust her interpreter male sidekick?

Equally compelling, are the wonderful lessons the story conveys. It will transform how you think about, and interact with, those who are different from you, in particular the deaf.

One of the fun aspects of the story was learning about special signs for names. I invited Katy to tell us a little more about that. Click the “play” button to view her presentation. (Ensure your volume is on)

Cool, eh? I created this sign for my husband: his initial “M” waved over my heart to show my love for him.  😉

 

Your Turn: Create a sign for your name or the name of a loved one and share it in the comments for a chance to win a copy of Warning Signs. I’ll contact the winner by email and share the name here on Sunday.

Update: Sunday, Sept 29th — Our winner is Sonja! Congratulations, Sonja, please check your inbox for my email.

 

BTW if you haven’t read Katy’s first published book, you can check out my review here: http://sandraorchard.com/book-giveaway/lets-chat-about-real-virtue/ It is another must-read.

Pic of Katy Lee

As an Inspirational Romantic Suspense author, Katy Lee writes higher-purpose stories in high-speed worlds. Through her writing, ministries, and teaching, she dedicates her life to sharing tales of love, from the “greatest love story ever told” to those sweet romantic stories of falling in love. Katy and her husband are born New Englanders and love to travel with their three adventuresome children.  You can connect with Katy anytime at her website, www.KatyLeeBooks.com. There you will find links to Facebook and Twitter.  She’d love for you to look her up!

 LIGHTHOUSE PHOTO CONTESTWarning Signs by Katy Lee

Also on her site you will find details to take part in the Lighthouse Photo Contest.  She hopes to receive lighthouse photos from around the world. So please, take part!

 

And the Winner is…

Many thanks to all who joined us this week to help celebrate the launch of Katy Lee’s debut romantic suspense. Without further ado, the winner of an Ecopy of

is… Melissa Tagg. Congratulations, Melissa, please email me to let me know what format (nook, kindle etc) you wish to receive and the email addy to which to gift it.

Fun Friday – A Novelist Daughter Shares

Today I’m welcoming Katy Lee’s daughter to my blog to share her perspective on what it’s like to live with a writer. Take it away…#1

For the past two years, I’ve watched my mom go from dreamer to success, and I’ve learned a few secrets along the way. Perhaps some of you will relate.

Here are my top ten observations:
10. Practice makes perfect! When following your dreams, never give up practicing. (Thanks, Mom, for this one. I won’t forget it no matter what I am striving for!)

9. Thinking about writing is NOT doing it. (I hear this one a lot—usually when she is driving me to all of my sport activities which is then keeping her from her writing. Once again, thanks, Mom!)

8. I love this one! The road to success has to include little mini-parties along the way. I especially love the parties with cupcakes with chocolate sprinkles on top!

7. Being an artist, I’ve learned from watching my mom that writing and drawing are related. While Mom is describing the human anatomy, I enjoy drawing it. (Get your minds out of the gutter! I mean people! I enjoy drawing people. Check out my latest drawing. What d’ya think?)

6. This one I’m still a little bummed about. I’ve learned just because you’re in the family, doesn’t mean you’ll make it in the book. In Momma’s new release, her character, Mel is a gamer. I made myself her “go-to” person on everything virtual. The character Cassie was based on me! I was so excited! Until Cassie had a run-in with the delete button.

5. Another thing I’ve learned is that typing cute messages into her manuscript is not as funny to her as it is to me. (I don’t understand why though, because it is pretty funny.)

4. I’ve learned that it is normal for her to carry-on full conversations with absolutely no one. If you have a writer in the family, don’t admit them to the hospital just yet.

3. This one goes along with number four. Remember! Their characters are real to them. Just nod and go along with them when they are telling you what so-and-so is doing today. And still, don’t admit them to the hospital!

2. I can’t stress this one enough. An “Enter at Your Own Risk” sign should not be taken lightly. Even if you’re bleeding, DO NOT DISTURB! (First Aid classes will help with this situation. You will need to learn how to stitch your own wounds.)

And for my number one observation of living with a writer…drum roll please!…..
1. “Get out of here!” means I love you. “Get the heck out of here!” means I really love you.

I love you Mom! I wish you the best success in selling your book.
And PLEASE, do not ground me…
Number One Kid

Thanks so much Audrey! I think your mom has another budding young writer in the family. 

Your Turn: Readers, this is your last chance to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Katy’s book. I hope you’ve enjoyed the introduction as much as I’ve enjoyed having Katy here.

Let’s Chat about Real Virtue

Monday, I introduced Katy Lee and her book Real Virtue. Today I’d like to talk about some questions the story raised.

This was a very thought-provoking book for me. The heroine has self-esteem issues, because of always being placed second to her schizophrenic mother’s welfare. However, she has become a successful business woman, thanks in large part, she believes, to the inspiration of a virtual reality game she plays in which she’s beautiful and people don’t snicker at her because she has a weird mother.

Many people live similar kinds of dual lives aside from virtual reality games. They are one person online, outgoing and friendly chatting on blogs or Facebook, but perhaps are shy and withdrawn or simply housebound in their immediate physical world. Sometimes they are more “connected” to their online “friends” than the people in their home or those sitting next to them in the lunch room.

That came home to me one day when my daughter learned my “writing news” from my Facebook page before I went downstairs to tell my family in person. Yes, I “told” my fans, before my family! Ack!

Moreover, the internet, like TV before it, has changed many people’s perception of reality. Online we can be the person we may not feel we can be in real life. There is positive value to this and dangers.

The hero in Real Virtue helps the heroine to see her true value and worth, as he has always seen her and as God sees her–not her skewed virtual reality version (in all its layers of meaning…from the virtual reality of living with a schizophrenic mother to her virtual gaming)

He shows her how to listen to her mother, to really listen to the truth mixed in with the schizophrenic babbling. The characterization is compelling. There are so many layers of meaning and depth to this book.

Your Turn: What are some of the benefits you’ve experienced in participating in online communities? What dangers concern you about the increasing popularity of cyber-living?

For those who missed Monday’s post, this week I’m giving away an Ecopy of Katy’s book to one lucky commenter. If you’re worried that this is a techno book that you wouldn’t relate to, it’s not. I was a bit concerned about that as I started the first chapter, but the heroine is soon drawn back to her small home town which is where the story takes place. And if you’re reading this blog, you’re online enough to totally relate to that aspect of the story.

Creating Characters – Real Virtue

I’m delighted to introduce you to Katy Lee, today. I read her book this weekend at it is soooooo good. One hundred percent romance and one hundred percent suspense and utterly enthralling!

I met Katy online in the writers’ loop of the Faith, Hope, Love chapter of RWA. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, three children, and two cats so we’ve yet to meet in person.

Katy writes higher-purpose stories in high-speed worlds. As an inspirational author, speaker, home-schooling mom, and children’s ministry director, she has dedicated her life to sharing tales of love, from the greatest love story ever told to those sweet romantic stories of falling in love. 

She’s been a huge encouragement to me, so when I heard she’d landed her first publishing contract, I invited her to drop by and share with us the inspiration behind one of her characters.

Wow! What a story she has to share, too! Take it away Katy…

Hi, Sandra! Thank you so much for having me on your blog today to talk about characters. I’m especially excited to give a little more insight into one of my characters from my Inspirational-Romantic-Suspense, Real Virtue. Now, normally, I would share about my hero and heroine, but today I’m not going to talk too much about Jeremy Stiles and Mel Mesini. Instead, I want to share about my heroine’s mother, Arlene Mesini.

Arlene is near and dear to my heart because her character was influenced by my own mother. Like my mom, Arlene suffers from the horrible brain disease, Schizophrenia. When I set out to write Real Virtue, I did not plan for Arlene to have this disease. Never in my wildest imagination did I think my story would link up with it either, but during my research of online virtual-reality gaming I came across an avatar with this affliction.

You see, in Real Virtue, my heroine is a gamer who takes her pastime a little too far. She is living a life that is a bit removed from reality…just like her mother. But in Mel’s case, she has the choice.

It was during my research that I found this video of what a day in the life of a schizophrenic person is like, and in watching this video I knew I had found my heroine’s mother—and the perfect conflict for Mel to face. A conflict I understood very well.

I’m going to be honest here and say, growing up with someone who has this disease is extremely difficult, and it took me a long time to understand my mother’s pain, but more importantly, to accept her as she is. If I was ever to have a relationship with her, I needed to stop trying to escape from the reality of the situation, (excuse the pun) and get to know her.

The same goes for Mel.

So, once Arlene was “born,” I knew I had an opportunity to take it one step further and honor my own mom through her. I dedicated Real Virtue to my mom as the strongest person I know. I can only hope Arlene does her justice.

And now, here is a about Katy’s romantic-suspense, Real Virtue:

In a virtual reality game where she can fly, someone’s aiming to take her down.

Mel Mesini is a New York City restaurateur and an avid, virtual reality world traveler. But her successful life—both online and in reality—takes a swerve the night her father is seriously injured in a hit-and-run. To make matters worse, Officer Jeremy Stiles, the man who had once cut her deep with his harsh, rejecting words, is heading the investigation.

When Jeremy realizes Mel is the actual target, his plan is to protect her—whether she wants him to or not. What he wants is answers, especially about this online game she plays. Is it a harmless pastime as she says? Or is she using it to cover something up? As a faceless predator destroys the things that matter to her, Jeremy knows he’s running out of time before she loses the one thing that matters most—her real life.

  Katy, thanks so much for sharing with us. I am awed by how God directed you to Arlene’s characterization. How special that you’re honoring your mom by dedicating the book to her. And I’m sure your story will give hope to many others who face similar difficult experiences.

And I’ve got to add that I love the cover! 

Real Virtue is available now in ebook from www.Amazon.com and www.BN.com and from her publisher, www.SoulMatePublishing.com. Paperback coming this fall! Katy’s fresh and unique voice brings a fast-paced and modern feel to her romances that are sure to resonate with readers long after the last page.

Any last words?

Thank you, Sandra, for having me on your blog! Readers, I love comments and would love to hear from you.

And please keep in touch with me at my website: www.KatyLeeBooks.com

You will see links for Twitter and Facebook and Goodreads. Let’s connect and get to know each other!

“So then we are no longer strangers, but members of the household of God.”
          ~Ephesians 2:10

Your Turn:  Any questions for Katy?

Giveaway: I’m giving away an Ecopy of Katy’s book this week. If you’d like your name thrown into the hat, please leave a comment on today’s, Wednesday’s or Friday’s blog. The winner will be announced Saturday. Please stop by Wednesday to join the conversation about characters in the book.