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Childproofed

We would like to welcome Reese Reed today on the blog. Reese has written a poignant story for anyone who has ever been a mother. Filled with humor, love, and serious growth, we are pleased to turn you onto Reese's debut novel, "Childproofed."

When people ask me what "Childproofed" is about, I'll admit that I stumble. It's not that it's a difficult question to answer, it's just that most of the time the people who ask me are the ones I realize probably
won't "get it." For example, just this weekend I was visiting with family when my younger cousin turned to me and said, "So tell me about your book. What's it about?"

"Uhh. Umm. Well."

See what I mean?

It's not that I don't think him capable of understanding. It's just that most people who truly understand motherhood and its joys and sorrows already know what the book is about by simply reading the title: Childproofed.

To a mother, that word says it…

Talk to the Animals

I received some really great comments/stories from other horse owners when I posted this blog last week on the other blog I write for equestrianink.blogspot.com and so I thought I'd post it here.

Obviously the question that I posed to horse owners crosses into all animal owners. But it was such a great experience and it has further opened my eyes to the power of emotion, and how strongly our animals feel them and express them. If you've had a similiar experience with any of your animals, please share.

Cheers,
Michele

I have a question for you...Has anyone ever used an equine communicator? I have actually had a gal "talk," with our pony Monty, and it was a pretty amazing "discussion."


Monty came into our family about a year and a half ago. He was fabulous. For seven months Monty was fabulous. My daughter took lessons from a wonderful teacher who is a dear friend, but who is also a school teacher, so when she had to go back to her day job, she let us know tha…

Tacky Lights

The darling JB Stanley and I are fascinated by displays of gaudy Christmas lights, so we agreed to venture out and capture our findings on film. So here are my alarming results. (Pardon the awful camera work...I was drunk off egg nog.)




My son calls all this stuff, "Christmas puke." Smartie!

-Jessica





Three Books for the Price of One!

I have some cool news. This is not a gimmick, your name won't go onto any list, it's just me wanting to get books into the hands of readers.

For the rest of this month if you order a copy of Happy Hour off of Amazon, you will receive two FREE books of your choice of my current releases. I will happily personalize and sign them however you would like me to. If you've never read a wine mystery or Michaela Bancroft mystery, or if you've been interested in getting a copy of my children's book but haven't done so, now would be a good time to try one. If you've already read my books maybe there is someone on your gift giving list who is a reader. Books do make a perfect gift.

To check out my newsletters that will give you some more information, here are the links: http://bit.ly/6VkNOd and http://bit.ly/6JgSt6
To order Happy Hour off of amazon http://bit.ly/8lLJmq

Once you order your copy, email DVinePress@gmail.com and state that you have ordered your copy, and …

Holiday Cozy Mystery Title Challenge

I promised to make a holiday murder mystery title out of whatever words my Facebook followers gave me. Okay, fine, I cheated a little by giving chapter titles, too… Tough!


Gingerbread
Wassail
Roses
Glasses
Levi Johnston
Santa Claus
Beer
Rick Springfield
Blonde
Horse
Egg Nog
St. Clair Broiler
Nausea
In-laws
Candy caned


The Blonde In-Law Murders: Santa Claus Gets His Candy Caned

Chapter 1: In Which I Meet Rick Springfield at the St. Clair Broiler for Gingerbread Egg Nog and We Get Our Wassail On. 

Chapter 2: In Which My Beer Glasses Saw Only Roses Until A Glimpse of Levi Johnston’s “Horse” Induced Nausea.


There you go! And that's why I'm an incredibly famous writer. Yeah, I need another cup of coffee...

Happy Holidays!
Jessica





Gift Ideas for the Aspiring Gourmet

Please welcome our guest today, Angela McKeller! Jessica met cook Angela online and they've been pals ever since. Angela contributed recipes to the fourth Gourmet Girl book, Fed Up, and is all all-around delight. She's got her hands in a bit of everything these days, and her latest venture is this delightful and charming cookbook. Please check out her links to learn more about this talented woman!




Passion on a Plate: EASY and Affordable Gourmet is a perfect gift and very unique compared to other cookbooks currently available. Perfect for the aspiring gourmet or any foodie that just loves to cook!  College students, newlyweds,parents, grandparents - anyone looking for something fun yet practical.

Passion on a Plate: EASY and Affordable Gourmet simplifies "kooking" in the kitchen by showcasing plate presentation in full color photographs, full meals grouped together by category (appetizers, breakfast, chicken, pork, beef, dessert) and explaining techniques in a way that …

El Patron Chapters One & Two

I mentioned last week that I would be posting up some chapters of my next release (El Patron) due out next month. I hope you enjoy! I will be posting chapters throughout the month.

Cheers,
Michele





BOOK I


1969-1976

Calí, Colombia

CHAPTER ONE

Emilio Espinoza traced the scars across the undersides of his wrists, now white with time, but still visible. Not like the ones that remained on his heart.

Moving to the ornate wooden armoire, he picked up a framed photograph of his brother Antonio and his lovely young wife Lydia. He stared at his brother’s face, his eyes becoming slits of hatred. He closed them, and threw the picture across the room, smashing the frame against the wall, his hands balling into fists as his vision clouded with tears. Glass shattered into small splinters across the adobe-tiled floor. Pulling the photograph from between the shards of glass, filled with rage and despair, Emilio ripped it into pieces.

Antonio was the reason the scars upon his heart never faded. What a fool h…

Silly Men Alert: Important Tip for the Delivery Room!

For some reason I have a lot of online pals about to give birth (yay!) so I have a very important piece of advice: Don't let the dad-to-be bring anything into the labor and delivery room. No mp3 players, cell phones, Blackberries, gadgets of any kind. Nothing. Especially a good book. My husband decided to pick up Harry Potter the day I was induced and I will never think about this goddamn series without cringing a bit. Now, I supposed I didn't mind so much that he was lost in this book while I was having minor pain and, truthfully, just watching Days of Our Lives. But when the doctor decided to break my water, causing me to regrettably understand the term "blinding pain," it would have been nice not to feel that I was dragging him away from something more interesting than his wife's agony, and forcing me to grunt, "Get. Over. Here." He's lucky I didn't run off with the anesthesiologist who gave me the best f'ing epidural anyone has ever had,…

Why the Kid Thinks Reading is Boring.

The insanely wonderful vice principal at my son's school is on a mission to get kids reading, so she has promised to KISS A PIG when the kids reach the set goal of reading for however many thousands of minutes she's planned out. ("That's how much I want kids reading!" she says.) Granted it's a small pig that is another teacher's pet, but still.... So my eight-year-old son has to read for a measly fifteen per night as part of his daily homework. Big deal, right? And with the incentive of watching his VP kiss a pig...I mean, come on! Nick is a very good reader and this should be no big deal, but what I'm met with every night is a myriad of complaints about how he hates reading, it's boring, has the timer gone off yet...?
This aggravates me to no end. Not only is reading not hard for him, but his mother is a goddam writer who loves reading! He should LOVE reading! He should be getting lost in fun stories, other worlds, interesting characters, off on …

Oh, Larry...!

So, I'm too tired to write a big blog today... Some of you know that my poor cat Larry is not doing well. I won't go into all the gross details again, but the cat needs to eat. And eat a lot. And he isn't. We're playing beat-the-clock right now and I've been feeding him all day with various disgusting combinations of high-calorie foods and supplemental milk for kittens. Larry is ticked at me, but at least I've fed him four times like this so far today. Our dog Fritzy is such a love and is watching over Larry. The two boys are snuggle buddies and I'm hoping that Fritzy is lifting Larry's spirits and helping him fight. So many people are sending good thoughts for Larry and so I want to thank everyone for their love! We feel it!
I'm hoping Larry gets better and I get to write about Levi Johnston. Or Shakira. Or awful Old Navy commercials.... or anything but sick pets.

Chicken, Leek, and Potato Soup (with a few other things thrown in there, too!)

I'm a soup chick. I've always loved soups. I really like them these days because they're easy, fast, and tend to be on the cheaper side to make. Plus there is usually a bowl or two left over for the following day.

I like to invent new soups, and last night I made a soup that scored big points with the family. It's super easy and tasty. Give it a try! Just make sure you have some crusty bread to soak it all up.

And please share your soup recipes here. I'm actually in need of a good clam chowder (or seafood chowder) and a lobster bisque.

I have no name for this one, so let's see...Okay, how's this? "Chicken, Leek, and Potato Soup (with a few other things thrown in there, too.)

Soup Recipe

Salt and pepper two boneless chicken breasts and brown in olive oil in a large pot. Don't worry about cutting them up. They will break apart as the soup simmers.

I used 1.5 box(s) of chicken broth, 1 cup of white wine, 1/2 cup of cream (if you want to cut out any fat, omi…

Guest Jerrica Knight-Catania!

A big welcome to our guest today, romance author Jerrica Knight-Catania! Jerrica is an absolute doll and we are so happy to have her with us today, which just happens to be her birthday! Happy Birthday, Jerrica! After obtaining a degree in Vocal Performance from the Manhattan School of Music, and years of pursuing a career on the stage, Jerrica left the "glamorous" life of an actress in favor of writing romance. She continues to reside in the New York City area with her husband, cat and ever-expanding belly, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the newest addition to their family. In the meantime, she continues to work on the fourth installment of the Wetherby Brothers' Novels.

In the last few years, my husband and I have really gotten into the spirit of giving. We've been so blessed in so many ways in our own lives, it just felt right to start paying it forward. With so many in need, especially nowadays, we love to think of new ways to give back. Last year we came upon …

Five Pounds Later and I am Still a Dreamer

Five pounds later...

(possibly more)

Made Giada's stuffing and it was excellent! I give it five stars. Make it for Christmas. The family loved it, or at least that's the impression they gave since there wasn't any left over.

It was a pleasant Thanksgiving. My sons drove out together and didn't kill each other, or even punch one another. They might have even said a few words between themselves, although they were likely not completely positive. My father was his sweet self and actually did not take even one nap during the day. My dad has been taking cat naps since I was a little girl (probably why he's been able to work twelve + days all of his life). My mother had a few aches and pains this year due to a recent leg injury but still refused to give up all the control to me (although I did my best to prepare the dinner at home and transport it as my goal was for her to actually have her put her feet up this year--never, ever gonna happen I now realize--can anyone relate…

Happy Thanksgiving

I loved JP and Nick's video and since I have a new laptop with a webcam, I figured I'd drag (2 out of 3) my kids into my office to say "Happy T-Day!" The sound quality sucks, but we're working on that. Cheers, Michele

The Kid Talks Turkey

The Kid Talks Turkey

Nick: Where’s the turkey? I can’t believe you already got it!

Me (removing a bag from the fridge): See?

Nick (visibly crushed): Oh. That’s our turkey?

Me: What’s wrong with the turkey?

Nick: I thought you were going to kill it.

Me: I did. I went to the supermarket, pulled out my shotgun, and killed it. They had all the turkeys there just waiting for me. I found a good one and… Bang! That was that.

Nick: You did?

Me: Yes. And then I wrapped it up in plastic and printed Butterball on it.

Nick (more delighted): You did?

Me: Sorry, no. Somebody else killed it.

Nick: Poor Mr. Turkey’s spirit is probably no longer here with us.

Me: Sure it is. We’ll eat up his spirit and he’ll stay with us.

Nick: Ew…

Me: There’s no pleasing you on this turkey issue, is there?


Happy Thanksgiving and better luck with your turkey.

Jessica


Almost Nineteen. Ugh.

Parenting any age child comes with its ups and downs: the worries, pride, fear, sadness, joy, etc. And so much more.

There is the baby stage, when parents think they will never get another wink of sleep. And they won't, because once inducted into this society of parenthood there will almost most definitely never ever be another waking or even sleeping moment when you're not aware of your responsibility. You'll wake with a start when your kid whispers your name. "What? Are you okay?" When they are three-years-old and the temper tantrum is so extreme that you have to wonder if Satan didn't crawl into bed with you on that baby making night, and you decide that you will most definitely make your child stay in time out no matter what. And then after thirty minutes of screaming and kicking you give them the freaking M&M that they wanted and they shut-up. Immediately.

How about when they're ten, and the teacher tells you that your child thinks outside the bo…

Angst-giving.

So it’s almost Thanksgiving. Time to proclaim all that you are grateful for. Family, friends, the whole bit. Yeah, whatever. But first I have to share what I’m NOT thankful for. I’m a big fan of angst, so here is what I’m most angsty about this year:

The, um, horrendous, puke-worthy, depressing state of the book market. It’s terrible. It’s a nightmare to sell a book, unless you’re, say, Stephanie Meyer;  then you can re-write the phone book so that “Andrews, Marcia” spends her time pining over  the immortal, hunky, fanged “Fitzpatrick, Alan.” (Yeah, yeah, I read the whole series, too. And I’m team Edward. All the way.) Meanwhile, stupid, stupid, awful books like Palin’s “Going Rogue” and that vapid Heidi and Spencer’s book, “How to Be Famous” are selling like H1N1 vaccines on the black market. Who is reading this crap? Please read something good. It doesn’t have to be a sleep-inducing tribute to academia, or a lengthy philosophical novel that makes you want to slit your wrists. Keep y…

Just a Couple of Bad Girls

I'm a good girl. I always have pretty much been a good girl. I try to do the right thing, make people happy--you know the good girl syndrome. I bet many of you are also "good girls." But I can't speak for my partner in crime, JP. I think deep down she's a good girl. She wants to be anyway. She really is good, because anyone who is still in love with Rick Springfield is technically a good girl. Actually she's a good girl with a bad attiutude, and no I don't mean bad as in bad. I meean it in the cool/bad terminology of the word. Oh boy, you all know what I mean. But she's the reason we now have an "adult content" warning on our blog...


Anyway, my friendship with the lovely Ms. Park began in an e-mail where she let me know that, although she'd been barfing all night due to food poisoning, she was grateful she had a copy of "Silenced by Syrah," because in between violent meetings with the porcelain God, she was enjoying (and better …

Where Do You Get Babies?

My eight-year-old son brought up the dreaded question last night. I’ve explained this phenomenon before, but unfortunately kids need different forms of information as they age. I gave him the short run-down (again) but my narrative was followed by the inevitable slew of questions.
Kid: What if you had another baby?Me: I'm not.Kid: But what if you did?Me: The world would implode... I mean, don't worry about it. I'm not.Kid: But so where do you get babies?Me: Costco. Or in your case, Target. Target has everything, right?Kid (glaring at me): Mom!Me: Remember your book? From Mommies and Daddies.Kid: But how?Me: Well, people have to have sex.Kid: What???? Oh my God!Me (nodding): Yes. It’s true. I then gave him a unnecessarily lengthy description of IVF in the vain hope that his interest in science would distract him from further interrogation. Kid: So which one did you do to have me? Sex or the other one?Me: I did not have IVF.Kid (look of hysteria and disbelief crossing his fac…

Lukewarm Topics

Michele was kind enough (or just not well thought-out enough) to ask me to blog with her. In another naive move, she gave me her password so I took it upon myself to screw with her blog and move everything around. Poor woman. Anyhow, I took a very formal survey on Facebook about which inane subjects the public would like me to address. Those View ladies have “Hot Topics” but I’m just going with “Lukewarm Topics That Have No Important Bearing on the World Whatsoever.”

So by request, here are my thoughts on today’s pressing issues:

Twitter: There is no way to discuss Twitter without sounding vulgar. “I tweeted/twatted/twittered….” Any way you put it makes it sound like you’re busy getting yourself off. Which maybe you are, but I don’t want to know about it. And if I did want to know about it, I’d certainly want more than 140 characters of detail. Go the Carrie Prejean route. Live a little. The bigger problem I have is that Twitter confuses me because I can’t keep track of anyone, so I wri…
Here's a little preview of my next book out. It's definitely not a cozy mystery. No worries though for the cozy readers--"Toast" will be out in April, and I'm working on a new Michaela Bancroft mystery.

El Patrón

What began as an innocent love affair for one young woman, Marta Peña, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in 1969, sets in motion a series of events that spans the next thirty years. This is the story of South American drug lords Antonio Espinoza and Javier Rodriguez, and their violent quest for power. In a sweeping family saga, we meet the women who love them and the children they vow to protect at any cost.

With a complex web of interconnected families, this gritty novel delves into the lives of a power hungry clan, following the rise of their business, the destructive path of their torrid and erotic love affairs, and the struggle to balance intense greed with devout family loyalty.

Strong women face tragedies that test their will and their commitment to the me…