Lamb’s Wool, an old-fashioned Christmas Beverage (and a giveaway)

It’s the Christmas season, so once again I’m trotting out my lamb’s wool blog. But the giveaway is new, and if that’s what you’re here for, feel free to scroll to the bottom. But really, you should try drinking lamb’s wool. It will be a moment of true happiness for your palate.

Lady's Lesson in Seduction

It doesn’t taste anything like wool, I promise. I suppose the beer foam and apples make it look a bit like wool. I mention lamb’s wool in some of my Christmas novellas (such as The Right to Remain Single and A Lady’s Lesson in Seduction). I couldn’t resist trying to make some for myself. It’s wonderful – and if you’re not a beer drinker, it doesn’t matter. I don’t drink, so I used O’Doul’s non-alcoholic beer, which worked just fine.

The Right to Remain Single small

To make a long blog short, if you’re in Britain, just follow this link and voilà, there’s the recipe. If you live Elsewhere, you may have to make adjustments re ingredients and measurements. Regardless, print out the recipe first and then read on – I’m only discussing the minor changes I made.

I went way wrong the first time, because I used whichever apples I happened to have in the house. They were far too sweet for this recipe. I should have looked up Bramley apples and found out more about them before I started, but I’m an impatient cook.

Onward to the second time, which worked: I used Turbinado sugar instead of Demerara (as far as I know, they’re similar in flavor), Granny Smith apples, and O’Doul’s non-alcoholic beer. You’re on your own re any other kind of beer or ale, but please, please, start out with it at room temperature. I’m not saying this because I was brought up on room temp beer and like it that way (although this is true). I’m saying it because you’re going to warm the beer a little before putting the drink together, and the gentler and quicker the warming process, the better for the lamb’s wool.

If you’re in the US, like me, you’ll need a cooking scale to weigh some of the ingredients. Either that, or you can use my approximations. For the sugar syrup, I used less than a cup of granulated sugar, a little more than ¾ cup of water, and ¾” of a cinnamon stick. The other ingredients don’t need measuring. Use all of them. It’s well worth buying allspice berries and fresh ginger, for example, even if they’re not household staples for you. The syrup is magnificent – so delicate and tasty that it’s heavenly just on its own.

For the puree, I used a few large Granny Smith apples and less sugar than it called for. Somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 cup seemed good to me, but I didn’t want to make the drink too sweet. The nutmeg and ginger were as called for in the recipe.

Just to prove that I actually made the lamb’s wool, here’s a pic. Try it! It’s a warm, wonderful winter drink.

Lamb's Wool

As for the giveaway, I’m offering a Kindle copy of one of my favorite Christmas novellas, A Lady’s Lesson in Seduction. To enter, click this link and fill out the form.

Here’s the blurb:

Once a notorious rake, Camden Folk, Marquis of Warbury, is now consumed by desire for only one woman: beautiful young widow Frances Burdett. And the Yuletide festivities at his country estate present the perfect opportunity for seduction…

After her brief and unsatisfying marriage, Frances Burdett swore never to become tied to another man. Then a passionate kiss under the mistletoe reawakens longings she thought buried forever. But can she give in to the pleasures of the body with a rogue like Cam—without losing her heart?


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Sneak Peek Excerpt: A Portuguese Christmas

As we continue into the holiday season, this week I want to share a first chapter excerpt from my sweet holiday romance,

A Portuguese Christmas

Love can come softly, like holiday snow. Or sweep you away like a riptide.

Chapter One:

It was simply the way it was in Portugal, another morning dawning so brilliantly. Dappled sunbeams reflected off the Atlantic Ocean; the surf pounded along a long, sweeping beach.

So this was a Portuguese December, Krystal Walters thought. It was so different from the cold weather battering her hometown of Newport, Rhode Island.
Here in Portugal, the sun never stopped shining.

She shaded her eyes, admiring the shimmering turquoise water. Feet snug in booties and reef socks, she wiggled her toes in the golden sand.

Hurray! Her anticipation grew with each breath of brisk, salty air. After a grueling year-long championship tour, the World Surf League ranked her as one of the top seventeen women surfers in the world. She actually stood on Medão Grande Beach’s shoreline in Peniche, Portugal.

She tucked her waxed surfboard under her arm, hoisted her belongings, and headed for the competitor’s area to check out the scheduled surf heats. Earlier that morning, she’d showered at the Oasis, an inexpensive hotel, and surfed for a short while. She’d encountered a sizeable wave and had spent a few seconds underwater. An hour had passed, and she still felt winded.

Shake it off.

Nothing would stop her, certainly not a little time underwater.

Snag your ebook copy of A Portuguese Christmas today!

Also available in paperback and audiobook

Five Star Reader reviews:

“This is a wonderful holiday romance. I think I would like to spend a Christmas in Portugal! Once I started reading, I could not put the book down. The characters are well developed. The story keeps you reading. There are lessons in family, letting go, overcoming grief, growing olives and Portuguese holiday traditions. I really enjoyed being transported to Portugal – especially at Christmas!”

“Pro surfer Krystal is competing in a competition in Portugal when she’s taken out by a wave. She injures her wrist and suffers a concussion, and her doctor orders her not to fly until she recovers. Krystal is stuck in Portugal over the Christmas holiday, and stays with her cousin on an olive farm in the city of Evora. Adolfo, the owner of the farm, doesn’t approve of surfing but is attracted to everything else about Krystal.

This is a sweet holiday romance set in an interesting location. I loved learning about the Portuguese traditions, festivals, and all that food had me hungry! Krystal is a strong personality, she’s driven by such an intense desire to succeed that she ignores her injuries and sometimes common sense. But she’s really likable, and her backstory explains exactly why she’s so driven. Adolfo is sweet in both languages, and they’re great together.

The narration was really well done, Allyson Voller performed a range of character voices and had a great accent for the Portuguese characters.”

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Russian Spiced Tea: A delicious winter drink

russian tea

Russian Spiced Tea

During the winter, especially the holidays, when I’m cold, this is my go to drink. It’s got flavor, vitamin C, and warms me up from the inside out.


2 cups Tang, instant orange drink mix

1 cup instant unflavored tea

1 cup sugar

6 Tablespoons sugar-sweetened lemonade mix (I prefer Country Time)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves.


Combine all ingredients; mix well. Store in an airtight container.

To serve:

Add 2 Tablespoons mix to 3/4 cup boiling water, stir.


I like to add a slice of fresh lemon and a slice of fresh ginger to my hot drink. This is especially good when you have any kind of cold, the ginger helps open your sinus passageways.

Happy Holidays and stay warm and healthy.




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Teaser: Love at First Dance

Here’s a teaser from the second of my novellas in Once Upon a Christmas Kiss. (There are two: The Reluctant Seductress and Love at First Dance, and because they are closely connected, they are together as a duet under the title Yuletide Nights).


Here’s the blurb of Love at First Dance:

Sir Colwyn North’s uncanny seductive powers made him an excellent spy—but they also gave him the worst sort of reputation. Given his dreadful past, his only hope of winning the hand of the very proper Lady Jane Dew is to trick her into marriage. By way of seduction. While in disguise.

Jane has had enough of tedious propriety; she wants excitement. Duty-bound, she attends a Christmas house party at the estate of a scheming marquis, who has plans of his own for her. She intends to choose her own husband, and the son of the marquis is not on her list. The enthralling but nameless seducer who visits her nightly in her dreams might be…but first she has to find out who he is.

Will Lady Jane reject Sir Colwyn when she discovers the truth? Or will he find another devious way to capture her heart?

And here’s an excerpt:

Setup: As a spy, Sir Colwyn North seduced women by way of erotic dreams. Now, he doesn’t think he can win a woman any other way. He is about to learn otherwise…

Why couldn’t she see his face? Jane’s skin tingled, her entire body vibrated, and she thrashed under those knowing hands, fighting even as she succumbed. “Let me look at you,” she panted. “Let me see!”

“Do you love me?”

“You know I do,” she whispered. “I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t love you. But I must know who you are!”

“I’m your one true love,” he said.

Her true love. That made it entirely right, didn’t it?

“Love me in return, and I shall give you pleasure beyond all imagining.”

She shoved him away. “Not until I see your face!”

“Alas,” he said, his voice receding. “I cannot, until you agree to—”

“No!” She burst into wakefulness, still throbbing.

“Damn.” A tall, dark shape stood near the fireplace. “I beg your pardon, Lady Jane,” he said. “You weren’t supposed to wake.”

Jane sat up on a horrified gasp. The covers were half off; she grabbed them and clutched them to her chest. Her heart drummed wildly. His large form was graceful—strange that even in her fear she should notice that—but his face remained in the shadows.

Jane opened her mouth and closed it again. She should probably scream, but nothing came out. Was she truly awake, or still asleep? She felt awake—but then, these dreams were so vivid, so very real.

“I shall leave you once again to your slumbers.” The intruder backed away.

No! Or rather, yes, he must leave, but not quite yet. “Who are you?” she demanded furiously. “Why are you in my bedchamber?”

“I am an incubus, a purveyor of erotic dreams.” His voice was a velvet caress. Her nether parts thrummed in response.

“What nonsense.” Jane knew she was blushing red as a berry. Fortunately, colors are not visible in the dark. “Come forward. Let me see you!”

He remained where he was. “You did have an erotic dream.” Something about the way he said the word erotic sent golden shivers down her spine and made her toes curl. “Didn’t you?”

“My dreams are none of your business.” She hated the quaver in her voice.

“A pity, because you were having such a good one.” He paused. “Weren’t you?”

Appalled, Jane tried to summon words of denial, but they wouldn’t come.

“I was enjoying it, too,” he said.

How dare he enjoy her…her pleasure. And yet at the thought, her core throbbed even more. “How did you get in here?”

He laughed softly, making her fingers curl as well as her toes. “I’m an incubus. I have my ways.”

How dare he spout such nonsense? She mustn’t allow herself to be so affected by this man. Indignant now, she groped for the tinder box by the bed; she wasn’t blushing anymore, or at least not much, and she had to know his identity. “There’s no such thing as an incubus.”

“Indeed there is. I am living proof.”

“Stop talking nonsense!” she cried, unable to produce a spark. This must be a dream; she could always get a spark in real life. Maybe her fingers were shaking too much.

With a hint of laughter, he added, “I must leave now, but I shall return tomorrow. And tomorrow and tomorrow after that, until you agree to be mine in the flesh, as well as in dreams.” He backed away into the darkness, and with a sharp click, he was gone.


9 novellas for only 99 cents!

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon Canada
Amazon Australia


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Georgia Trees Preparing for Christmas

Trees in my area of Georgia like to add color well past Fall color. If only I had this tree in my yard for Christmas. Some our trees and bushes like to linger into December. I don’t mind.



My yard guy calls this a Nandina. Its berries are prettying up nicely!



My holly bushes prefer to be trees, I have some taller ones in my yard. It is sporting some luscious red berries!

Now about those times when you need a good quick Christmas story to read while you try to stay warm. If you love the Lifetime movies, you don’t want to miss this one!

For only 99 cents you can enjoy a sweet Christmas story!




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Sneak Peek Excerpt: Candleglow and Mistletoe

As we continue into the holiday season, this week I want to share a first chapter excerpt from my sweet holiday romance, Candleglow and Mistletoe

Noelle Wentworth doesn’t mind getting away from St. Augustine to fill in at her ailing aunt’s candle shop.A few weeks in Snowing Rock will help her get past the humiliating memory lapse that ruined an important piano concert—and, ultimately, her marriage to her overbearing duet partner.

She’s mentally rehearsing for her comeback performance when the bus she’s riding in slides off an icy mountain road.
And one deep, calming voice emerges from the confusion to slow her racing heart—right before his ruggedly handsome face kicks it back into allegro.

Chapter One:

Noelle Wentworth never liked long bus journeys, especially when the bus was being driven by a preoccupied driver who kept glancing down at his cell phone. She shifted in the worn bus seat and fished through her purse for dry soda crackers to calm her motion sickness. Then she pushed down the impulse to march to the front of the bus and suggest that the bus driver slow his speed and concentrate on the snowy, frozen road ahead.
She glanced out the window. The traffic lights in Fisher’s Crossing, the last small town before Snowing Rock, North Carolina, would force the driver to slow.

Noelle leaned back in her seat and blew out an exhausted breath. She’d been traveling since morning and longed to unpack, enjoy a long, hot shower, then practice piano for her upcoming concert.
She glanced at Anjali, the sleeping, five-year-old girl she’d met a few hours earlier. She’d started talking to Noelle, and Noelle had invited the little girl to sit in the empty bus seat beside her. Noelle smiled at Anjali’s mother, Mrs. Fernandez, seated across the aisle.

The woman nodded back, her gaze tired, her hair graying at the temples. She zipped her long, red puffer jacket up to her chin and closed her eyes.
Noelle tucked her curly blonde hair beneath her hat, envisioning the picturesque town of Snowing Rock ahead. The town had been listed as one of America’s top ten ‘Christmas Towns’ because of its quaint charm. She hoped nothing had changed in the fifteen years since she’d last visited. Although this wasn’t a visit, she corrected herself. She’d agreed to temporarily manage her Aunt Joy’s candle shop while her aunt convalesced from a hip injury.
Noelle’s orderly private life would be disrupted for a few weeks while she helped out her aunt, but Noelle had agreed, purely out of duty. Although she was busy preparing for her concert, there was no other family, and her aunt needed someone she could trust.

Noelle knew that feeling all too well. She’d lost her parents a year ago and missed their support and guidance, especially after her bad marriage, made even worse by her illness. Along the way, Noelle had learned a hard lesson. She was leery of trusting anyone.

Snag your ebook copy of Candleglow and Mistletoe today!
Also available in paperback and audiobook.

Reader Reviews:

“This was such a wonderful read, and I know I’m going to read it again during the Christmas season. Being a pianist, I could relate to the stress of stage fright and how every day events can affect one’s focus, but this is just one small element of the story. I love how the author weaves the 2 main characters together, and you quickly love and root for them to be a couple. There were some twists and turns, but they got there! Loved it.”

“I loved this story from the very beginning! Noelle was so focused. It was great to watch Gabe pull her out of her shell. I could feel her vulnerability and also her determination to be the strong person she truly was. Gabe…sigh! Gabe was pretty much the perfect hero! This is the first thing I’ve read by Josie Riviera. I am very excited to read more of her work!”

Posted in Contemporary, Romance, writing | 6 Comments

Tomorrow is December and one of my favorite times of year…

The Christmas tree is up and the stockings hung by the chimney with care. Christmas presents still to wrap. For the first time this year, I will be away from both of my sons at Christmas time.  I may go to Pigeon Forge with my Aunt and good friend Shari or have a Christmas Eve dinner at my cousin’s home.  Whichever, (though I prefer the condo getaway), I will still be surrounded by family in my new home back in my  hometown in South Carolina.

How are you spending the holidays? They are almost upon us!

Goodbye November Friday,



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Christmas Release: Mistletoe and Magic (Holly Days Book I)

Mistletoe and Magic

Mistletoe and Magic

I love Christmas and I love stories about Christmas and the magic it brings this time of year. It was only natural that I’d want to try my hand at it. I’ve decided to write one every year.

This specific story was written a few years ago for the Anthology Mischief Under The Mistletoe that made the USA Today Best Selling Authors list. It was originally released as All I Want For Christmas but I’ve revamped it and it’s being released Mistletoe and Magic.

Rafe Donnelly’s mother abandoned him at birth, leaving him without a name or anything to call his own. Growing up in an orphanage, holidays left little to be desired, Rafe only knowing what they could be from those who didn’t stay long. As an adult, he prefers escaping to warmer climates over the hustle and bustle of the festive season.

Single mother Ali Sanders struggles day in and day out, juggling two jobs to keep a roof and four walls surrounding her and her son, working overtime to make sure he has a Christmas he’ll remember. But the holidays are looming, and five-year-old Gabe still hasn’t announced what he wants for Christmas.

A last-minute change of plans has Rafe sitting in for Santa Claus at a Thanksgiving function. As the clock signals the end of his torture, a little boy sits on Santa’s lap and asks for something unexpected, changing the lives of everyone around him.

Can a little boy’s Christmas wish bring warmth to a cold heart and much-deserved happiness to the holiday season?

**Previously published as “All I Want For Christmas” in various collections.**

Coming soon: Mistletoe and Miracles (Holly Days Book 2 – to be released December 19, 2018)

Sharing the Christmas love…



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New Starts Mean New Rules

Carol, Welcome! I love this cover!


Does the passion or story come first?

By Addison Brae

Thanks for hosting me today, Mary. Readers often ask what inspires plots and characters. Here are my thoughts.

  • How do you get ideas for plots and characters?
    Life experiences, dreams, people I’ve met, and what’s going on in the world bring up the questions, ideas, and emotions that make up a story. Characters are based on stories I’ve heard, mashups of people I know, or inspired by real people like Whistle Bitch, a real bartender we met at an all-night diner in Seattle near the Space Needle. She whistled while she worked and earned the nickname from her coworkers.
  • Have any of your characters ever shocked you?
    Yes, but do they shock readers? Gillian is hell-bent on getting justice for what she believes was murder. She does things I never thought she’d do, but I couldn’t stop her. She’s 21, naïve, and invincible. She also wants to prove to herself she has the courage to do something important.
  • Which comes first, the passion or the story idea?
    With Becker Circle, definitely the passion to raise awareness about and stop domestic violence and inspire people to seek help. Becker Circle is about Gillian starting over without Fresh starts come with doubts, but those doubts are rarely worse than what already happened. Like Gillian, we’re never alone. There’s always help from friends, family, co-workers, police, and organizations like Hope’s Door New Beginning Center. Here’s a scene from Becker Circle where Gillian grows stronger in her fresh start.


“That’s what I hear.” I pour another round of shots. “Be right back. Just going to deliver these.”

On my return, I run into Bradweiser coming from the bathroom. “Give me a hug.” He opens his arms and squeezes me. It’s uncomfortable. When he loosens his grip, he slides around where his arm wraps around my throat. Tight.

I gasp for breath and my tray crashes to the wood floor breaking the somber near silence.

Everything rushes back. The night Connor left huge bruises on my neck then dragged me across the floor by my hair. All because I wasn’t ready to get engaged.

This time I’m not afraid. I’m ready to fight. Feet firm on the ground I wrap one leg behind Brad and slam my knee into the back of his. His knee bends and I twist out of his tight hold.

“What the hell are you doing?” I pick the tray up off the floor and step back to a safe distance, my heart still racing.

“I’m sorry,” he begs. “I’m so sorry, Gillian. I just wanted to hug you.”

“Gillian, are you hurt?” Steve asks, stepping between us with Joey right behind him.

“I’ll make it up to you. The best restaurant in town. Sunday?”

I don’t care how much Brad’s sleepy eyes beg, it’s not happening. “I don’t think so, Brad.”

“Brad, time to go home.” Steve leads him to the door. “I’ll close out your tab.”

 Rule seven of my new life—violence is a deal breaker. No exceptions.

Connect with Addison Brae on her website, Tirgearr Publishing, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube.

You can purchase Becker Circle on Amazon US, Amazon UK, Smashwords, iTunes, Kobo, B&N Nook.

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Garage cleaning!

Once upon a time Mary had a garage door that was rotting and ready to fall apart and leave her  stranded.

20181102_161302_old door

A rotting garage door.

20181121_174918_before 2

The garage was full of junk

20181117_162802_Before 1

and more junk that you don’t see here!


Not it’s cleaner!


A lot cleaner!


I have a shiny new door!

Now I don’t have to cover the hole and hope the garage door lasts a a little longer.

The end.

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