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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Blogging on the Edge!

Tonight (Thursday, January 8, at 8PM Pacific) I am out on the edge with WT Prater and Amanda C. Stone! Join us at Write on the Edge:

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year! Time for Dessert!

My dessert offering tonight isn't a family recipe, nor does it really have a lot to do with any of my books. But oddly, it does have a lot to do with my a rather convoluted way...

You see, I don't cook well. In fact, I roasted a turkey for the first time last year. I have a handful of meals my mom and grandma taught me. Oddly, I'm a pretty good baker. But anyhow, I don't cook, but my daughter does. She's a chef, and a pretty elevated chef at that. She feeds the rich and famous, as well as the rich, powerful and less famous. She's kind of a someone in her field and dang. I had nothing to do with her skills. But when I pick up something in the kitchen, I pick it up really, really well. Which really bugs her. ;)

It takes courage to try something out of your comfort zone, and a few years ago, I was fresh off a pressure-filled year of writing and just decided to try making a cheesecake. I'd never made one but I knew my daughter makes a pretty mean dessert and I just wanted to know if I could do it. So when my family was out of town for a weekend, I tried. It was a pumpkin cheesecake and it was...okay. Not that impressive, but eat-worthy. Next I tried a chocolate cheesecake. My sister was taste-testing and absolutely loved it. Next up was the ultimate cheesecake: New York, plain and simple.

I experimented with recipes and finally concocted one I liked, and dang. It was gooooodddd. So I tested it on my youngest daughter, and she was in love. She asked if I'd make enough to do a fund-raiser for her dental hygiene class. (No. Sorry) So I was feeling pretty proud of myself till my oldest showed up for New Years. I urged her to try it and she refused. The next day I offered it again. And again and again, till she finally caved and took a sliver. And I mean a sliver. It was transparent.

She sat, ate it and then just sat there in her chair. She eventually got up, went to the kitchen and came back into the living room with a big, fat slice and quietly ate it. Then she looked at me and said, "Goddamnit, Mom...that's the second thing you make better than me!" (the other is a bread recipe.) I nearly got up and danced! LOL! At that moment, I felt as good as I did with my first ever five star review!

Anyhow, I'm not a good cook but I make a pretty darned good cheesecake and maybe for the New Year, lets all try something out of our comfort zone. :)

So here it is. My personal, private cheesecake recipe. I'm sure its out there in various permutations, but this is how I make it. 

Now the thing with cheesecake is how you bake it. Slow and low. Put a pan of water in the oven to keep it moist. And don't overcook!

Belinda's New York Cheesecake
Your favorite graham cracker crust or:
1/2 cup butter, melted
2s cup cinnamon graham cracker crumbs

3 1/3 packages (8 oz. packages) room temperature cream cheese
1 4 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
(Not evaporated milk!)
2 eggs 
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp lemon juice
1tsp lime juice and/or lemon/lime or orange zest to taste
(this isn't a citrus cheesecake, but the juice and/or zest really plays up the tart edge of the creme cheese)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter; press evenly on bottom of 2 small springform pans. Bake for about 10 minutes, or till crust starts to brown slightly. Take out of oven to cool.

2. In large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually add sweetened condensed milk, beating until smooth.

3. Add vanilla, juice, zest and eggs, mix well. Pour into prepared pie pans.

4. Lower heat to 300. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, turn off oven but leave cheesecakes in oven with door propped slightly open for an additional hour. Turn off the heat as soon as the center of the cake is solid, but still jiggly. Take it out and let it cool before chilling.

5. Refrigerate at least 6 hours until firm. I suggest you serve with lemon curd, blackberry jam or another tart topping. And whipped cream. Or just serve it naked. 

Variations I've tried:

Substitute juice and zest, using 2 tsps of vanilla
Juice and zest of an orange  
1 tbsp of Amaretto plus 1 tsp almond extract

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Prince of Faith: Cover Art Contest!

I'm finally home! Its been a whirlwind these past few months, traveling all around the country to various conventions, dog shows and gatherings. I wish I'd had time to do posts about the highlights of each one. Its been a great, but ultimately tiring experience. So now its November, and I'm taking a few days to catch my breath before getting ready for the holidays.

I mean...Thanksgiving? Already? Yeesh.

So for new updates, as you know, I have a new release. Also, I have a new member of the family. Please meet

(AKA "Shot Through the Heart")

Eros is a 13 week old Saluki, which is an ancient sighthound breed that originated in the middle east. He's a big change from my Siberians, but is fitting into my home really well. He's a complete delight and we're all totally in love with him. :) You will undoubtedly be seeing a lot of him here and on my Facebook page. LOL! Yes, I'm a proud dog-mom.

Cover Art Contest

So for the contest portion of the blog...I'm giving away cover art posters from An Uncommon Whore 3: Prince of Faith. I'm fortunate to have another beautiful Bishonen style cover by PL Nunn. As an author, its so special to get a one of a kind, hand created cover!

 As always, my contest rules are simple, just leave a comment on this thread. If you live outside the US, I'll substitute a copy of the e-book (or a book from my backlist) to save on shipping. This contest is open till Sunday, November 16. I'll give away 3 posters. (or e-books, as the case may be)

What Reviewers Are Saying About Prince of Faith:

The feedback on Prince of Faith has been truly humbling. Its a Recommended Read at the USA Today Happily Ever After blog, where Jessie says, "What I love about this book is that it's unpredictable. I didn't know what the characters would choose to say or do — it was so refreshing." 

Over at Rainbow Romances, Serena Yates says "What a stunning book! It is so intense it almost killed me, but I loved it!" and here's her review:

You might notice that many of the reviews are enthusiastic, but a little tight-lipped. Why? Because there's a spoiler in the book that no one wants to reveal. I thank all the reviewers for sitting tight and not spoiling the surprise!

Have you purchased your copy yet? If not, the buy links are at the end of this post. If you buy the book, please take a moment to review it. Those honest reviews help other readers on their purchasing decisions.

Its wonderful to be back and I still have quite a bit to catch up on, both in my home and online. Please be well and if you live in a region affected by the polar vortex, stay warm!

Buy Links:

Loose Id
All Romance E-Books:
Barnes and Noble: