Are You Ready for Thanksgiving?

I will be with my baby sister, my baby brother, and my baby sis-in-law!

Mama and Daddy Double Exposure

My parents

Even after 19 years  since their deaths, I still miss my parents. Mama always had a big dinner and cooked everyone’s favorites. I also had Thanksgiving with my ex’s family. When the ex and I split I lost his family, too. Funny how a family can drop a person after more than 35 years and at the time she  lost your parents.  I might as well have dropped from the face of the earth. BUT my sister by marriage took over the family dinners. Though I now have to share my daughter with her dad’s family and her in-laws and wait my turn, I found my own ways to celebrate. I just can’t guilt her, since I have enough guilt over the time I spent with the in-laws instead of my parents.

Dinner with Melba's family

Melba Moon/MJ Flournoy

I have two dear friends who invite me to share their families’ dinners for holidays. How cool is that? This year is my baby sister’s turn to feed us and she’s excited. I get to help her cook. She said not to bring anything but I can come early and help her.

Thanksgiving Road is still available! So many stories we can recognize from our families!

Posted in Life's surprises, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Delicious and Easy Portuguese Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Did you know that Thanksgiving doesn’t exist in Portugal? In fact, many Portuguese have never heard of Thanksgiving.
And, if you were in Portugal in November and wanted to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner, you would soon find that many of the ingredients are non-existent.

Looking for pecans to bake a pecan pie? Nope!
Canned pumpkin for pumpkin pie? Hah!
Cranberries for cranberry sauce? Nope, again. And certainly you won’t find canned cranberry sauce (my fave!) in any of the supermarkets.

However, you might find dried cranberries, although it’s interesting to note that the Portuguese do not have a name for cranberries, although the word “oxicoco” is sometimes used.

The good news is that you will be able to purchase a fresh turkey and roasted chestnuts from the many street vendors. Add a loaf of crusty Portuguese bread, a bottle of Port, and enjoy your Thanksgiving feast!

Here’s a recipe for “Portuguese” cranberry sauce. Note that dried cranberries and port wine are listed in the ingredients.

You will need:
Water to moisten
6 apples
Approximately 7 cups of dried cranberries
Port wine (I use most of the bottle!)
¾ cup brown sugar
Cinnamon and cloves to taste

Mix all ingredients and simmer on stove.

Do you have a favorite cranberry sauce recipe? Please share below.

Love to learn about other countries and holiday traditions? Snag a copy of A Portuguese Christmas, my sweet romance novella. Available on Amazon and all e-book stores, as well as paperback and audible.

Check out the youtube video here.

Josie Riviera is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author of contemporary, inspirational, and historical sweet romances that read like Hallmark movies. She lives in the Charlotte, NC, area with her wonderfully supportive husband. They share their home with an adorable Shih Tzu who constantly needs grooming and live in an old house forever needing renovations.

“Like” her Author Facebook Page:

Posted in Contemporary, Romance | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

WIP – Help!

In my WIP, a cowboy romance, I’ve written a scene that I don’t know if it works.  Is the heroine being unrealistic and a real butt?  He owns the ranch where she works. They made love one night. The next, a tall blonde from his past shows up and Trish thinks, well, we all know what she thinks. She and an expensive horse have been caught out in a bad thunderstorm, so Help, please: Is she being unrealistic, stupid, or a butt?

“It’s a gutter washer, as your buddy Charlie called it. He’s very worried about you, Trish. He rode south.”

“How about you? Are you worried about me?”


“I wouldn’t be standing here in this balmy little sprinkle if I weren’t.”

‘God, I’m starved. I don’t suppose you have servants back there in the darkness with a four-course meal or something.”

He fished in his pocket. “How about some fine cheese crackers as a starter, ma’am?”

“You are a lifesaver, Ash McGowan.” She took the crackers and tiptoed to brush a kiss to his cheek, tore open the package, and stuffed half of one in her mouth.

“I don’t want to interrupt your gourmet meal, but let’s get going.” He stroked her sodden hair. “We’re not going to get any drier out here. Anyway, your crackers will get wet.”

“We’re not going to get any wetter either.” She stuffed the packet into her pocket.

“Oh, yes, your crackers will stay dry in your pocket,” he joked.

“Wise ass.” She grabbed the strap of his riding hat, pulling him down into a searing kiss. When she took her mouth off his, he was aroused and stunned by the intensity of his feelings. She nuzzled her face against the crook of his shoulder, her lips brushing his neck.

They stood lost in each other, with the water sluicing off them, until lightning struck a sapling by the creek. The horses jumped, started, and hit the end of their tethers. Suddenly, the lovers were in a battle to keep from walking home. When they’d calmed their mounts with whispers and soft touches, Ash captured Trish’s gaze.

“Ride with me. Pomegranate is steady as a rock. We’ll lead the young fellow,” he said.

She bristled immediately. “I can control him.”

Cowboy5“I’ve never questioned that fact, but one misstep and you could both go down.” He stroked her cheek. “I wouldn’t want you hurt.”

“I wouldn’t want me hurt either.” She puckered her lips and squeezed her eyes shut, looking like a little girl waiting for a peck of a kiss.

He obliged but not as a man would kiss a child, and she responded by locking her arms around his neck and kissing him until he was hard and throbbing.

She bounced back, slid the halter over Dusty’s head, and waited for Ash to mount.

He shook his head, spraying water into his eyes. “You drive. If Dusty bolts, I’m a bit stronger to hold on to him. No offense meant.”

She laughed as she strung Pomegranate’s reins over his head. “No offense taken.” Placing her foot in the stirrup, she seemed to gracefully appear in the saddle, offering him her hand.

“Hold on.” He went to the rear and lightly vaulted onto the horse’s rump—a stocky Quarter horse, sliding an arm around her waist for balance—and in the likely event Dusty was spooked.

“Happy trails to you,” she sang the old Roy Rogers’ theme song. “Until we meet again. Happy trails to you. Keep smiling on ‘til then.”

“We’re not saying goodbye to anyone, are we?” He gave her a quick, one-armed squeeze.

“I don’t know. Are we?”

“What do you mean?”

“If your blonde girlfriend is staying, you’ll only see me in the barn as usual. Be damned if the snooty, stupid bitch will run me away from my job.”

“Trish, you’ve got this all wrong.” He kissed the back of her head.

“Do tell, Ash McGowan, the English cowboy.” She laughed, the sound swallowed by a volley of rain and thunder. “That’s what people are calling you, you know?”

When had she done a lightning switch from grateful kisses to sarcastic attacks?

“I suppose I am. As to Dorothy staying, she’s informed me she’s staying a month. I’d appreciate it if you’d be around to help me fend her off.”

“Poor Ash. Women just fall all over him.” A long silence dragged, filled only by the storm, which seemed to abate as the tension between them escalated.

“I can see this is going nowhere.” He blew out a frustrated sigh. “Trish, be reasonable. I didn’t invite the woman. She just showed up on my doorstep, but I can’t be rude to a guest in my home.”

“Happy trails to you until we meet again,” she sang but there was something different about her voice this time.

Maybe she sang around the lump in his throat. He hadn’t cried since he was twelve. He wasn’t about to start now. Trish was being unreasonable. Or was she? How would he feel if the tables were turned?  Pretty bloody well used.

“You shouldn’t have done it, Ash,” she said, her voice scarcely discernible above the storm. “You just shouldn’t have done it.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Life Gets Better: Pamela Varnado

The Journey


Don’t sweat the small stuff.

I am not sure who first penned those words. The slogan has been around for years. I only wish I had heard it when I was in my teens and early twenties. Back then, I fretted over almost everything: am I tall enough, thin enough, pretty enough, smart enough, rich enough, popular . . . the list was endless.

However, while my early years were challenging, my yearnings were no different from most young females. I wanted to be happy, loved, and respected. I wanted to know that I was worthy, that I mattered.

So, like most humans, I searched for a way to stand out in the crowd. My claim to fame was Track and Field. My passion for the sport started in middle school. While my five sisters learned how to care for a home or shop for the latest fashions, I spent my free time practicing sprints and ten mile runs. Nothing was more exhilarating than crossing the finish line in first place. This dedication lead to a spot on both my high school’s cross-country and track & field teams. I was even awarded a college scholarship, which I couldn’t accept because of family drama (I’d leave that story for another blog posting). Instead of accepting the scholarship, I choose another route for my life.

I joined the military. This surprised everyone who knew me, because I was rather shy. But a week into Basic Training at Fort Gordon, I realized I’d made the right decision.  My quest for boldness had paid off. I thrived in this orderly environment. It gave me a sense of control, something my life lacked. When my training to become a Telecommunications Specialist finished, I went to my first duty station. The Army’s philosophy, Be All That You Can Be, really inspired me, so I didn’t waste any time joining the post’s track team. I even set a record in the two hundred meter hurdles.

My love for the sport led me to mentoring a local youth track team. This was an experience I still cherish today. The teen girls were considered underprivileged, but boy, did they have heart and spirit. Little did I know, sharing my gift changed me forever.  At the time I wasn’t aware of anything grand happening. I was just hoping for the best like everyone else. But I learned what it felt like to help and inspire other people. And I can honestly tell you it’s as wonderful as crossing a marathon finish line in first place.

Today, thirty years later, my race still continues. Only now that I’m older and much wiser, I look inward for approval. I no longer chase pettiness or doubt my decisions. I trust my instincts and allow a higher power to help and guide me. Even better, I live with an awareness that has taught me how silly it is to obsess about life’s challenges. When things get tough, I stop, take a breath, and remember the shy young woman who boldly left home and entered a world filled with nothing but unknowns. Then, I smile because I’m fine. No, not just fine. I’m thriving, happy, successful, and proud. I’m a mom, a wife, an author, a divine soul doing what she loves.

Every path I’ve taken in life led me to where I am at this moment. There were twists and turns and I had to backtrack and start over a few times, but it was the right path for me to learn and grow.

And just like me, every path you have taken or will take is the right path for you.

What revelations have you experienced along your journey?

Newest book

When Love and Disaster Collide—Hope Wins.

 Origin Unknown Series

In the near future, a dark secret could determine the fate of mankind

Deception (A prequel)
Available now at

During a scientific expedition into the rainforest to study indigenous plants, diagnostician Rosie McKenna faces her most challenging medical mystery. A bizarre skin condition is spreading through Burton Pharmaceuticals’ team members. A condition she can’t diagnose.

As she struggles the save the patients inside a top-secret field hospital she soon learns the scientific expedition is a cover for something far more dangerous than the hungry jaguars prowling the lush landscape. Something, that if allowed to move beyond the forest—could possibly change the evolution of mankind.

Isolated and frightened, she doesn’t know whom to trust. Trevor the career-driven botanist who wants to be more than just friends? Or Romas the magnetic security expert who causes her to question her own sanity?

You can follow me on social media

Facebook: Author Pamela Varnado
Instagram @author_pamela_varnado
Pinterest: Coming Soon






Posted in Contemporary, Life's surprises | 5 Comments

Heartwarming Holidays Giveaway

So excited to share this Giveaway, for a chance to win a $50.00 Amazon Gift card, among other awesome prizes!

Posted in Romance | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Does it snow in Portugal during the holiday season?

Feliz Natal means Merry Christmas in Portuguese!

I had such fun writing A Portuguese Christmas, my sweet romance contemporary novella. And, in turn, I learned a great deal about Portugal, and the country’s lack of snow during the holiday season.

The story is set in December. Krystal Walters, the heroine, is an American professional surfer, and is competing in Portugal during the holidays in a world-class surfing event. She misses the snow, and envisions returning to her home in wintry Rhode Island to celebrate Christmas with her father.

However, the average temperature in Portugal in December/January boasts a high of 59 degrees, with temperatures dipping to a low 46 degrees. So, snow is very rare, especially in the cities, such as Lisbon.

Through my research, I also learned that Portugal’s climate is diverse. The river Tejo runs through Lisbon, and any regions south are warm and dry, and reportedly it’s only snowed there once in twenty years.

Any regions north of the river are rainy and cold in winter.

Here’s the first cover of A Portuguese Christmas.

The hero, Adolfo, is an olive farmer, and, to me, this hero didn’t look like a man who farms. Those of you who’ve heard me praise my wonderful cover artist, know I trust her judgement. However, in addition to a hero who didn’t fit my vision, she forgot one important thing. There’s no snow in Portugal!

However, I LOVE the hero on my current cover, which was unanimously approved by my reader’s group!

The moment world-class surfer Krystal disappears under a mountain of sea water, Adolfo’s single-minded focus shifts from running his Portuguese olive farm to keeping the sun-kissed American spitfire safe. But first he’ll have to convince her that spending Feliz Natal with him isn’t the end of the world. Because she’s become the center of his.

Do you like snow during the holiday season, or do you prefer warm, sunny weather?

Feliz Natal!

A Portuguese Christmas is on pre-order and will be available November 7th.
Reserve your copy today!

And check out the youtube video here.

Josie Riviera is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author of contemporary, inspirational, and historical sweet romances that read like Hallmark movies. She lives in the Charlotte, NC, area with her wonderfully supportive husband. They share their home with an adorable Shih Tzu who constantly needs grooming and live in an old house forever needing renovations.

Want to be a part of her VIP Facebook group? Send her an email at:

Posted in Contemporary | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Mystic Reads Hop

Musings ... Bianca Swan

Beautiful Girl over Futuristic Urban Background of Night City

Enter for your chance to win and choose your own prizes!

Which paranormal romance or urban fantasy authors are your favorites? Which new books have you been waiting to buy? Enter our giveaway from November 1-18 and could be one of 7 lucking winners to choose the book prizes you want! Plus two winners will also take home a Kindle!

And while you’re at it, shop our awesome book fair with 38 fantastic PNR/UF titles, many FREE, but none priced over $2.99.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

View original post

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Duets and Dominance by Anya Summers

GENRE: Erotic Romance



Elizabeth “Lizzie” von Klepper has a problem of epic proportions—she’s the oldest virgin in the world. Invited to perform on Pleasure Island with her best friend Solomon, she devises a plan to seduce him, and rid herself of that infernal status. After all, they shared a mind-blowing kiss a year ago and that has to count for something, right?

Solomon Ventura adores Lizzie. She’s been his best friend since their humble beginnings at Julliard, but deep down he’s yearned for her. For more. And ever since he tasted her, a stolen kiss he hasn’t been able to forget, he cannot seem to stop his mind from conjuring up myriad fantasies with Lizzie in the starring role. But he’s not the man for her. She’s light where he is dark, and his brand of love would shatter the only woman he’s ever cared about.

Will the best friends move their relationship out of the friendzone? Or will a week spent on pleasure island destroy them both?


This place would be good for him. He already planned to stay past their performance week. If he had to fuck his way through the sub pool on the island—as well as any single subs who visited—to thoroughly evict Lizzie from his lustful thoughts and put her back squarely in the friend column, then that was what he was going to do.

The private balcony off his room had a clear view of the ocean. The waves undulated, an endless movement of shimmering turquoise and cobalt. Sol inhaled a few steadying breaths. Lizzie wasn’t for him. She was too pure, too sweet, and just too good for a man like him.

But Christ did she look good, better even than when he’d seen her in Scotland.

Lizzie was the type of woman suited to candlelight and gentle lovemaking. Sol wasn’t that kind of man, never had been. It wasn’t that he wasn’t a good man, he just wasn’t good for her. She wouldn’t survive his brand of love, and Solomon couldn’t be satisfied without being a Dominant.

That didn’t mean he’d forget that one stolen kiss. Far from it. One touch, a simple brushing of lips, and every part of his being had stampeded to the forefront, eager to stake its claim. That Lizzie belonged to him.

If only that were true.

They were friends. It was better that way. She deserved better. Were he to turn the full brunt of his desires in her direction, she’d run screaming into the night. As she should, because a good girl shouldn’t tangle with the big bad wolf. His brand of dominance would leave her shattered. Solomon must have control, otherwise it put him on a slippery slope toward utter ruin.

And he’d never be able to live with himself if he destroyed such perfection. 


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Anya grew up listening to Cardinals baseball and reading anything she could get her hands on. She remembers her mother saying if only she would read the right type of books instead binging her way through the romance aisles at the bookstore, she’d have been a doctor. While Anya never did get that doctorate, she graduated cum laude from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with an M.A. in History.

Anya is a bestselling and award-winning author published in multiple fiction genres. She also writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance under the name Maggie Mae Gallagher. A total geek at her core, when she is not writing, she adores attending the latest comic con or spending time with her family. She currently lives in the Midwest with her two furry felines.

Visit her website here:

Visit her on social media here:

Twitter: @AnyaBSummers


Sign-up for Anya Summers Newsletter

Amazon Author Page


Don’t miss these exciting titles by Anya Summers and Blushing Books!

Dungeon Fantasy Club Series

Her Highland Master, Book 1

To Master and Defend, Book 2

Two Doms for Kara, Book 3

His Driven Domme, Book 4

Her Country Master, Book 5

Love Me, Master Me, Book 6

Submit To Me, Book 7

Her Wired Dom, Book 8

Pleasure Island Series
Her Master & Commander, Book 1
Her Music Masters, Book 2
Their Shy Submissive, Book 3
Her Undercover Doms, Book 4

Her Lawful Master, Book 5
Her Rockstar Dom, Book 6
Duets & Dominance, Book 7
Ménage In Paradise, Book 8
Her Rodeo Masters, Book 9


Anya will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.  a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more fun and chances to win, follow Anya on her tour:


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

An Undercover Cop Must Lie.

It was right at freezing earlier this week, so I took my one delicate plant inside.  It will be cold again soon. You need a new book with suspense, family drama, and hot sex to keep  you hot and bothered!

Would you forgive a man who knew your son had problems but didn’t let you know?

They found each other at a class reunion. Drew reminded Tess she had needs as a woman.  He realized he had missed out by not getting close to anyone.

The Cost of Deception is available on Amazon.

Posted in autumn, Contemporary, Romance, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Is Halloween observed in Portugal?

In my research for A Portuguese Christmas, I learned that Halloween is not observed in Portugal, although the observance of the American Halloween exists in the more rural areas.

On October 31st and November 1st, children go from door to door and ask for sweets, such as honey, walnuts, and small cakes.

However, November 1st is All Saints Day, a Holy day that dates back 1000 years. Because Portugal is predominantly a Catholic country, people visit cemeteries and honor their dead friends and family.

How will you be celebrating Halloween this year? I’ve learned not to buy Halloween candy too far ahead, or it will be eaten by the time Halloween arrives!

A Portuguese Christmas, my sweet romance holiday novella, is on pre-order, and available on Amazon, as well as all ebook retailers.
Also available on paperback and audio.

Snag your copy today!

Josie Riviera is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author of contemporary, inspirational, and historical sweet romances that read like Hallmark movies. She lives in the Charlotte, NC, area with her wonderfully supportive husband. They share their home with an adorable Shih Tzu who constantly needs grooming and live in an old house forever needing renovations.

Sign up for her blog and subscribe to her newsletter for a free ebook:

Posted in Contemporary, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments