Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Deck the Halls with Books Holiday Extravaganza: Death Masks by Kim Richards




The pumpkin version of this cheesecake became a favorite of my Mom before she passed. I made it for every fall and winter family gathering. Give it a try! ~Kim Richards

Sweet Potato/Pumpkin Cheesecake

For Crust
2 Cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (about 30 cookies crushed)
6 Tbsp melted butter
Or (for a more keto/carb friendly version) substitute crushed walnuts for cookie crumbs and butter.

For Filling:

3-8 oz packages softened cream cheese
½ Cup butter melted
1 1/3 Cups sugar (or mix half brown sugar and half white if preferred) can substitute stevia
1 Cup cooked and mashed sweet potatoes or pumpkin
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
¾ tsp. ground nutmeg
3 Tbsp bourbon (or 1 tsp. almond flavoring)
1 tsp. vanilla
4 Eggs

Note: The recipe says sweet potato or pumpkin.  You can use either or do a mixture of half pumpkin and half sweet potato if you like.


For Topping:

1 ½ Cups sour cream
2 Tbsp sugar (or stevia)
1 ½ tsp. burbon (or vanilla)
Ground cinnamon

In a medium bowl, combine the crust ingredients and stir to mix well.  Press crumb crust into the bottom and 1-inch up sides of a buttered 10 ½ spring form pan.  Bake crust in a 350 degree oven 8-10 minutes until just starting to deepen in color.  Remove from oven and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl (or food processor) combine filling ingredients, beat until smooth. 

Pour batter into the prepared crust.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Then turn the oven temperature down to 300 degrees and continue baking for 35 minutes; Then again, turn oven temperature down to 250 degrees and continue baking 20-30 minutes until cheesecake is set around the edges and barely jiggles at the center.  Remove from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Mix topping ingredients and spread evenly over top of cheesecake. Dust with cinnamon if desired. Bake for five minutes to just set the topping. Remove from oven and cool completely. Cover and chill for several hours, remove from pan and serve.  

Makes 16 servings.

Death Masks 
Author’s New Updated Edition
Kim Richards

Genre:  Thriller
Publisher: Kim Richards
Date of Publication:  June 3, 2020
Digital ISBN: 978-1-952564-01-7
Audio:  978-1-952564-50-5
Number of pages:  146
Word Count: 53,826

Cover Artist: Dawné Dominique DusktilDawn Designs

Tagline:    Let’s hunt a serial murderer!

Book Description: 

Bill Cristo reluctantly takes up an exercise routine. One evening, he takes a jog and comes face-to-face with a killer. His local metro park is no longer safe for anyone. Unsure of why he survived that first encounter, Bill is determined to catch the murderer before anyone else dies. Then it sets its sights on his girlfriend.

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Listen to a Soundcloud 15 minute Excerpt 


Excerpt

It took less than a second for the young man to fall. Impact with the hard ground cut off his yelp. He rolled on his back with wide eyes. His fear, thick and tangible, mingled with the stench of rotted leaves and dust as the syringe’s needle pushed into his skin, taking a moment to pierce the earliest layers of flesh.

Standing back, emotionless brown eyes watched him thrash and struggle to scramble to his feet. The poor bastard looked drunk. It waited, breathing steadily as the jogger’s cries faded and his body fell back among loose sticks, pebbles and crumbling leaves. The predator strode a few steps forward to stand over the man’s shuddering form. It bent low, leaning just enough to peer deep into the wide pale blue eyes of its now-paralyzed victim. Then it grasped the man’s ankles and dragged him into the shadows, among the low foliage, and set to work.

About the Author:

Kim Richards lives in Northern California where she works for the County Disease Control Covid 19 Task Force as clerical support for testing. She loves to sew, write, garden, and read. She also enjoys crafting to relax and is always looking for new ways to create.

Author webpage: www.kim-richards.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kim_richards

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KimRichardsAuthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kimrichards5576/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/kim_richards

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/KimRichards

Newsletter sign up:  https://forms.aweber.com/form/12/2104744212.htm

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00APPEHK4






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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

The Hotel Tour and Giveaway

 

From Daylight to Madness
The Hotel Book 1
by Jennifer Anne Gordon
Genre: Psychological Suspense, Gothic Horror


The latest book from the critically acclaimed author of Beautiful, Frightening, and Silent; Jennifer Anne Gordon.
On an almost uninhabitable rocky island off the coast of Maine, a Hotel looms over the shore, an ever-present gray lady that stands strong like a guard, keeping watch. For many who come here, this island is a sanctuary and a betrayal.
This is a place where memories linger like ghosts, and the ephemeral nature of time begins to peel away …like the sanity of all who have been unlucky enough to step foot on its shore.
In the late spring of 1873, Isabelle gave birth to her son Oscar, he cried for three startling minutes, and then went silent. During the months that follow, Isabelle is drugged and lulled into an almost hallucinatory world of grief and fear. Her life begins to feel as though it exists in a terrifying new reality separated from those around her …
When her grieving begins to make her husband, Henry, uncomfortable, he and his mother conspire to send Isabelle away to a Summer Hotel on Dagger Island, where she can rest and heal. While they are adamant that the hotel is not an asylum and that Isabelle will be able to return eventually to her home, Isabelle understands in her heart that it is all a lie. That perhaps, everything about being a woman in this time, may have always been a lie.
Her family has lied to her, and she has lied to herself.
The Hotel, of course, is not what it seems, and the foreboding Dagger Island begins to feel more like a prison than a retreat. Isabelle hears relentless sounds coming from the attic above her room, and the ever-present cries of small children scream in her head almost constantly. Are they hallucinations, or are they connected to the small cemetery she found, filled with the fresh dirt of little graves, the brokenhearted reminders of people that no one believes ever existed?
She meets a fellow guest at the Hotel, a young, enigmatic, and deeply damaged priest, named Francis.
Together they teeter on the edges of reality and try desperately to become free from the fates that their pasts have bound them to.
From Daylight to Madness is a poetic, and haunting Gothic Fiction novel that is both profoundly unsettling and darkly romantic.

**Only .99 cents!!**


Prologue

April 1873

 

 

He cried for about three minutes, his little voice sounded powerful at first, fighting, and strong. His cries found their way to her ears, which had always been so desperate for love. His strange sounds immediately sounded like home, and like love, but those sounds very quickly changed. Of course, it all happened so fast, she did not even know it was a ‘him’ at this point. It was just crying, just screaming.

            Just home.

There was an almost immediate feeling of removal, followed by a rush of emotion, pain, and even more blood. So much so, that the expulsion of this texture felt as though she were still giving birth. She did not even realize her part in all of this was done. She had done ‘what she could’ and the rest was up to God.

He made guttural sounds, uneven, jagged bursts. Gasping sounds that seemed to grow muffled, as if there were a thick viscous liquid poured down his throat. It was a drowning of sorts; the irony was that he was drowning outside of her. He was drowning on this crisp spring night in the slightly dusty and salt-tinged air of Portland Maine.

It was painful to her, those begging breaths that seemed to reach out and grasp. The pain was not real, not in a physical sense, not anymore. But the emotional pain, she was beginning to feel it now. In the seemingly endless minutes that passed, she had already come to know his sounds. Those frenzied sounds, the way they stampeded into her, she knew she would feel this forever. They were carved into her like initials on the old Oak tree in the small yard of the poorhouse where she grew up. She knew that the echo of these cries would last years. Their scars would grow pale over time but would always be there, marking her memory; these little auditory footprints that would feel like kicks insides of her.

The part of her that made him, that held him inside her body, was scarred now. Ruined.

There was pain for months before this. It went unsaid. It was ‘to be expected.’ At her age, there should have always been ‘some discomfort.’ She mentioned it, or at least she thought she must have when she would visit her physician. His office was an uncomfortable and dusty room located in the back of the Apothecary.

            During her visits, she would describe what she was feeling inside of her. She said it was like butterflies at first, the kicking, the movement . . . but over time it dwindled. The butterflies became moths, and eventually they were just dust in a jar, on a shelf, inside of her body.

She is not quite as sure now, she is trying to remember, and maybe she never mentioned it at all, or at least not enough. She should have made it clearer, made her voice heard; the feeling that something inside her took a wrong turn, that it somehow went wrong. She should have said that the excited feeling she had deep below her belly, was still there, but it felt slower; did she say that? And if she said it, did they hear her; was she heard?

            Did they care? Worse, did she care?

She thought she would not be able to take the sound anymore, the plaintive and desperate cries from this small creature that lived inside her, it was too much. Could none of them do anything to make it stop? She tried to push herself out of the bed. She tried in vain to reach for something that was not there, that was never there.

            Love.

She imagined the hands, the small fingers almost like cats’ claws. She wanted to feel the sharp nasty cuts from this kitten of hers. This little thing filled with so much fear, anger, and love, that in its excitement it hurt her. It reached out and scratched. It bit.

            She bled.

But as she sat up, the room swam around her and the darkness crept in front the corners. It almost overtook her, which was when she noticed it; the sudden silence. She let herself fall back onto the bed as the early morning light turned from daylight to madness, and then of course, there was nothing, there was nothing at all.

            Her hair which had been soaked with sweat, now hung cool and damp against her face. The blood soaking the sheets, which were warm only moments ago, began to thicken in the cool air and feel stiff against her skin.

Isabelle thought it would all be different, she imagined throughout these not quite nine months that the room would be warm, that someone would have thought to light candles. She always pictured a healing fire in the fireplace in the corner of the largest room, in their small house. She could imagine Henry’s face, it would be warm, appreciative, it would seem almost, if not quite exactly, to look like love. This expression of his, it would live in the house next to where love would be, if it had only ever moved in, adjacent to it, holding its hand, living with it. A feeling next to love.

He would hand her the baby and Henry would say, “Here he is, our boy, our Oscar.”

It was not nine months. No, of course, it was not. It was seven, maybe seven and a half – she should know. She should have always known the exactness of it, the moment of conception. The moment that she would be more than just a ‘her,’ the moment she would be a mother, the thing she was always expected to be, and until now, and even now . . . was not.

            She did not know; she did not know any of this. She was a mother, who now was not. What is that called? Is there a name for that; the silent grief, the mourning that is best ignored, tidied away, lest it make someone uncomfortable?

There was blood on the floor, it was mixed with tissue, there were pieces of her, and pieces of Oscar. She thought perhaps his little hands had held onto something inside of her and pulled it out on his way. As if he knew, it was not his time to leave.

            She closed her eyes, and a cry filled the air.

            His cries, Oscar’s cries, not hers; Isabelle had not cried.

            Not yet.

There would be an inexpensive grave that simply read, ‘Baby Boy,’ when it should have said his name; a name that her husband would want to save for ‘the next one.’ As if this one was not real. As if a life existing in three small minutes somehow meant less than a life lived in thirty years.

            This thing that happened, she could almost hear the neighbors whispering about it, their voices thick with judgement and colored on the ends with fear. Whispering about the birth that did not happen, the baby that did not live.

            The life that never happened – except it did.

There was Oscar; he was there, for three minutes. There were no loving looks, no warmth of candles and dim soothing firelight. There was pain. There was blood. There was relief.

            There was three minutes of crying.

            There was Oscar.

            Then, then, there was nothing.



When the Sleeping Dead Still Talk
The Hotel Book 2

Critically acclaimed Author Jennifer Anne Gordon's conclusion to The Hotel Series, with the sequel to From Daylight to Madness.

In one startling moment in the late summer of 1873 a tragedy fell like summer sun on the gray jagged shores of Dagger Island. Francis loses everything he thought his life was, and what it could have become. His heart breaks and his feet run, all the way back to his childhood home, he reaches for a past that may not exist.
He is there, in the little house in Dorchester Neck. A place haunted with missing time. He feels the comfort from walls that lean in too close, but then …He feels the trauma that ripped his life in two and in a blink of an eye he is back at the hotel. He can feel the memories fade as the cold fingers of winter wrap around him. He does not know how he got there, or indeed if he ever left.
Francis has lived his whole life veiled in the memories that are more alive than his present. The current days fade away before he can hold on to him. Everything he was or thought he could have been is gone. He realizes he may be a monster, and the person he has fallen in love with may not even exist. Francis holds onto the memories he thinks are real …until he is almost consumed by them.
Francis is isolated in a world of mesmerism, with his tormentor and healer Doctor Hughes.
Francis is a guest in this hotel with his past, his present, and who he believes to be his future. Isabelle. His world is a labyrinth … he feels her hand in his. The fingers intertwine and there is nothing left but her …
She is a memory, a ghost, and a hallucination.
He can almost remember the moment when his father’s glass shattered into his face…he can almost remember who he was before he was broken in two.
He can almost remember…
He can almost…
He can…
He…








JENNIFER ANNE GORDON is a professional ballroom dancer and choreographer by day, and a curly haired neurotic writer by night. She is an actor, a traveler, a photographer, a lover of Gothic Horror, and a dog mom. She lives in the wilds of New Hampshire with her partner on and off the dance floor. Her novels include the Kindle Award for Horror 2020 Winning book, Beautiful, Frightening, and Silent, as well as the historical Gothic novel From Daylight to Madness (The Hotel #1) as well as When The Sleeping Dead Still Talk (The Hotel #2). She also has a published collection of her artwork, titled "Victoriana {mixed media art of jennifer anne gordon}.





Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

An autographed copy of my novel Beautiful, Frightening, and Silent 
(finalist for the kindle awards for horror 2020),
 An autographed copy of my art book "Victoriana: mixed media art of Jennifer Anne Gordon" 
and a $15 Amazon Gift Card. 



Sinners and Saints Tour and Giveaway

 



Sinners and Saints: A Collection of Romantic Interludes
Saints & Sinners Anthology Book 1
Genre: Romance Anthology (no erotica)


Sometimes it takes a Saint to love a Sinner.

There’s something for everyone in this collection of 15+ romance stories from today’s USA Today bestselling, award-winning, and rising star authors. From reluctant billionaires to displaced gods, century old vampires to young lovers just about to graduate high-school, love strikes where it will, and who’s to say a Sinner is any less deserving of happiness than a Saint?

Let us tempt you to take a walk on the wild side, unleash a little bit of the sinner inside you to find that romance you’ve always been waiting for.

These original stories are packed with unforgettable characters, amazing romances, and intense emotion that will leave you on the edge of your seat waiting for more. From sweet to sultry, these stories will have you reading long into the night.

Fans of Mary Higgins Clark, Stephanie Meyer, Danielle Steel and Suzanne Collins won’t wait to misbehave for Sinners & Saints.

Don’t miss your chance to get this set before it’s gone! The sins will stack up and the saints won’t stay forever, so make sure to grab your copy of these 15+ titillatingly delightful stories when you scroll up and one-click today!

With stories from: Shaunna Rodriguez (AW), MA Abraham, AnnaMarie Gardner, Deborah Garland, Madison Granger, BK Harrell, Angelina Kerner, CA King (USAT), Darlene Kuncytes (AW), Megan Kuykendall, Andi Lawrencovna, Didi Oviatt, Crystal StClair, SE Winters, Tricia Daniels  and  Payne Craven

**Pre-order now for only .99 cents!!**


#Surprise! Us Sinners want to thank all you Saints for pre-ordering SINNERS & SAINTS
It just takes 2 easy steps!
1. preorder from B&N, Apple, and/or Amazon https://books2read.com/u/4NLa5Y
2. Go to https://ahupie1.wixsite.com/saintsandsinnersset & claim the #FREE #bonus
#WritingCommunity #readingcommunity


Shamrock & Clover
by C.A. King


A Shamrock has three leaves.
A Clover can have more.
Faith, hope, and love are standard.
But luck is always number four.

He’s a sinner when it comes to love; she’s a saint. They’re both searching for the elusive fourth leaf and a little luck. If they meet in the middle, they might just find it and each other.

Shamrock & Clover is a sweet Romantic Comedy chronicling the journey of one unlikely couple in their search for love.


USA Today Bestselling & Award Winning Author, C.A. King, was born and raised in Halton County. She currently resides in Brantford Ontario, Canada with her two sons.

After the loss of her loving parents and husband, Ms. King was devastated.
She decided to retire from the workforce for a year or two to do some soul searching. It was during this time that writing  became her passion. She found she was able to redirect her emotions through her writing and in 2014 decided to publish some of her works.

"I need to thank everyone for being so wonderful. It's amazing when someone reads your work and enjoys the story. I already have people waiting for future books to be released."

Carol Ann King is proud to have her name join the list of Canadian born authors. She hopes her writing will help inspire another generation of Canadians to continue adding to the literary heritage and rich
culture Canada already has to offer. Her books in The Portal Prophecies series are fictional fantasy stories based on opening the door to possibilities.



Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

$25 Amazon


Dragonfly Dance Tour and Giveaway

 


Dragonfly Dance
Mercy Mountain Series Book 1
by Becca Maxton
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Some things are worth the wait…

Ben Mannis never got to be young, wild, and free. Both his parents died when he was 20, leaving him a ranch to run and younger siblings to raise. Now 42, life—and love—seems to have passed him by. Not that he’s complaining, the town is his family and he’s been too busy to fret a missing love-life. When he’s asked by the newspaper editor to show the Gazette’s owner around the local area for a few days, Ben is happy to oblige. Little does he know everything he’s missed out on is arriving wrapped in one sophisticated leggy, blonde package.

Catherine Kendall wants to live her creative dream and not the dictated life her father has assigned. As the only child, she’s been groomed to run the family publishing empire. Trouble is, she hates the news business, hates the city, and longs to live near mountains and indulge in becoming a sculptor. So, while the town thinks she’s come to inspect the Gazette, she’s really there on a frustrated dare her father tossed out—prove herself an artist or return to Kendall Publishing and never speak of her silly ambitions again. The mountains are just what she needed to spark her passion. Turns out, so is the handsome rancher acting as tour guide.

Can two late-bloomers turn a sexy fling into true love, or has their time passed them by?




Ashnee Valley, Colorado 1977

 

Rolling down his window, he offered the kid drying his car an extra dollar. “Get all the windows and mirrors. I’m looking to impress someone.”

Fancy truck, mister.”

Thank you, son.”

With his truck polished, Ben headed off down Main Street. He drove past the post office and the turn off toward the senior center before pulling into a parking spot. It wasn’t glamorous, but the Ashnee Valley Gazette was headquartered directly above Gordy Sinclair’s Hardware Store. He stepped out and waved to Mrs. Gordy through the store window. Officially, she was Mrs. Sinclair. But for as long as he could remember, everyone called her Mrs. Gordy. He guessed she must be eighty years old now. It didn’t seem the time to switch things up and start calling her by another name.

He winced at the inordinate amount of noise the creaky wood steps made while he walked up the narrow staircase to the second level. So much for a subtle entry, he mused. At the top of the stairs, he opened the glass door with the stenciled words The Gazette on it and stepped into a scene filled with a handful of people singing.

Removing his hat, he stared at his friend Brady playing a banjo at the front of the room. Even Brady’s wife, Alicia, their two older boys and five-year-old twin girls were there. A petite blonde woman led the entire room in singing “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver.

What the heck?

When the song ended, the tiny group clapped enthusiastically. The blonde, who Ben quickly surmised had to be old Catherine, was anything but. She was a modern day Grace Kelly with slim, modest curves in all the right places and a face bordering on aristocratic.

Stunning.

Watching her attempt an awkward curtsy for the crowd sent a jolt of electrical thrill up his spine. On the highest heels Ben ever saw, the blonde spun around, tripped, laughed it off, and picked up a tray from the table behind her. She began handing out cupcakes. Mesmerized, he flinched a little when someone touched his shoulder.

Ben, you’ve got to meet Catherine,” Brady said. “She’s the most fantastic woman. Have you ever met a person who knows all the words to every country song ever written?”

I can’t say that I have.”

Catherine,” Brady called across the room while pointing at Ben, “this is Ben, the one I told you about.”

You mean my tour guide?” she called back. “He’s so handsome, Brady, are you sure that’s him?

Brady quivered all over, laughing at Catherine’s teasing. This was certainly a side of his friend he’d never been witness to.

Setting down the tray of cupcakes, she put her hands on her hips. “You aren’t playing with me now, are you?”

 “No, ma’am. This is him!”

Ben enjoyed the form-fitted grey tweed suit Catherine wore as she walked his way. The skirt was long, past her knees. Black buttons ran up the skirt on a slant. The matching jacket was tied tight with a belt around the waist.

A little big city. A little old-fashioned. A whole lot classy.

He stepped forward holding out his hand. “I’m Ben Mannis, tour guide. At your service.”

Catherine Kendell,” she said with a strong handshake. “Kendall Publishing and wanna-be country singer.”

He smiled. “What, no cupcake for me?”

A flush crept across her skin and to his chagrin she let go his hand. She crossed the room, picked up a cupcake, and headed back.

Ben chuckled. “I was kidding, darlin’.”

What made me drum up that endearment?

I don’t know where my manners went.” She handed him a chocolate-frosted cupcake with a wink. “I never kid about treats. Darlin’.”

After saying goodbye to Brady and the rest of the newsroom, Ben held the door for Catherine, and they headed downstairs. He’d seen her falter twice on her shoes already and worried she might teeter on the steps, but she managed the descent like a pro.

My truck is the white one right in front,” Ben said, taking the lead and walking around to open the passenger door.

He stood back as Catherine took hold of the safety handle inside the vehicle and made a valiant attempt at lifting her knee against the restraint of her skirt. Failing to get her foot on the runner, she glanced at him.

Give me a minute. I can do this.”

Of course. There’s no hurry.”

Her hand on the handle again, she wiggled her behind like a cat ready to pounce then jumped with both feet.

Ben bit the inside of his cheek to school his expression. “Hold on. I think we need a plan that doesn’t involve you falling in the street. How would you feel about me picking you up?”

She wrinkled her nose at him.

Adorable.

We’ll do this quick. No one will be the wiser.” He glanced above her head at the two reporters who had their faces mashed against the newsroom window. Brady gave him a salute.

Straightening her skirt, Catherine held her arms out to him like a child. “Okay, you can pick me up.”

Uh, well… I’m going to have to do this more like we’re crossing the threshold on the way to the honeymoon suite. I mean as far as the style of lift.”

Catherine lowered her sunglasses, looking him right in the eye. “Should I pretend I don’t know we have an audience?” Without waiting for his answer, she stepped forward and wrapped her pretty arms around his neck. “Or should we give them something to write about?”

With one arm supporting her back and another under her legs, Ben swooped Catherine off her feet, suggested she duck her head, and placed her on the seat inside the truck.

I’m pretty sure we just made the front page,” Ben said.

It only matters if we’re above the fold. And, thank you by the way.”

My pleasure, old…” He stopped himself just in time. “My pleasure, Catherine.”





Becca Maxton is a contemporary romance author. She writes sensuous (dare say, steamy) and encouraging stories about rocky road detours leading to resilience and romance. Her characters are brave women and men facing challenges together and finding love.
 
Becca is a member of Romance Writers of America, Colorado Romance Writers and the best critique group of writer friends ever. She lives in Northern Colorado with her husband and son.


Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

$10 Amazon 


Deck the Halls with Books Holiday Extravaganza: Death Masks by Kim Richards

The pumpkin version of this cheesecake became a favorite of my Mom before she passed. I made it for every fall and winter family gathering. ...