On to spring!

March arrived here on our Vermont hilltop with a lot of snow. Thirteen inches on Saturday! It’s a great time of year to enjoy winter sports. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are our favorites. Joe and I don’t downhill ski or snowboard.

My Black River series is set during a cold New England winter. I wrote most of Cold Pursuit, the first book, during a particularly snow winter. Just looked out the window for inspiration.

When I was writing The Cabin, also set during winter, I realized as I was writing a chase scene the villain would leave footprints if there was snow. And there was s… Read More

Read More >

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

It’s a great day to celebrate and appreciate love and those we love.

Also for flowers and chocolate. ūüôā

Here in Vermont we enjoy¬†Lake Champlain Chocolates and everything Mother Myrick’s. Our roses won’t be in bloom for a while yet (our gardens are still covered in snow) but here are some Irish roses to enjoy.

Now it’s back to writing for me!… Read More

Read More >

A recipe for mulled wine

A pot of mulled wine simmering on our wood stove is such a treat!

Our wood stove came in handy this past weekend when a nor’easter hit Vermont hard with extensive power outages. We were out from Friday to Sunday evening. Other people are still without power but we see hardworking crews out there and appreciate their efforts. It was quite a storm.

Back to mulled wine…

Below is the recipe included in my Swift River Valley novella, “Christmas at Carriage Hill.” By the way, it’s just $1.99 in digital and now available in audio. And A Knights Bridge Christmas is on sale t… Read More

Read More >

Homemade hot chocolate

We’re expecting snow this week. No better time to repost my recipe for hot chocolate! It appears in my Swift River Valley Christmas novel, A Knights Bridge Christmas, which happens to be on sale in eBook for just $1.99.

HOT CHOCOLATE

Ingredients

1 cup cocoa (I use Dutch-processed Droste)
1/2 cup sugar (or to taste)
1/3 cup hot water
4 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Preparation

Combine cocoa and sugar a medium saucepan. Blend in water. Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Let boil, continuing to stir, for two minutes. Add milk, heat t… Read More

Read More >

Christmas cookies! A recipe…

I posted this recipe a couple of years ago. It’s a family favorite.¬†When I was growing up, my Dutch father would make spritz cookies throughout the Christmas season.

My six brothers and sisters and I all loved to help.

The buttery smell of the cookies warm from the oven is a great memory and something I can recreate in my own kitchen. The cookies are relatively simple to make and fun to decorate:

SPRITZ COOKIES

Equipment: Cookie-press or pastry bag
Ingredients
3/4 c. sugar
1 c. unsalted butter
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt (or less)
Directions
Ble… Read More

Read More >

An Irish castle walled garden

It’s no secret I love visiting gardens. On our recent trip to Ireland, we once again wandered through the walled garden at beautiful Dromoland Castle, now a stunning hotel near Shannon Airport.

My photographing abilities don’t do the garden justice but hope you get the idea!¬†

 … Read More

Read More >

Ireland’s Black Valley

Ireland’s Black Valley is one of our favorite spots to hike on our many visits to this beautiful part of the world. When I came up with the idea for my next Sharpe and Donovan installment, I knew part of it would be set in the Black Valley. Tentatively titled¬†Return to Declan’s Cross,¬†it doesn’t have a pub date yet but I’m working on it. I’ll be offering a “sneak peek” in the coming weeks.

Here’s a photo I took on our first hike in the Black Valley. The cottage ruin is a well-known site on the Kerry Way, a marked hiking trail we crossed on our own route. … Read More

Read More >

The Killibrew Sisters are back

Life has changed a lot¬†since I wrote Trade Secrets¬†and Family Matters¬†early in my career as a published author, but Juniper and Sage Killibrew and their adventures are as much fun as ever. I’m delighted these two short, classic romances are now available as eBooks.

As Harlequin put it when Trade Secrets was first published, ‚ÄúCarla Neggers is one of seven children, so she knows all about the ties that bind. Which could be why she handles the family shenanigans in Trade Secrets with such aplomb.‚ÄĚ

I wrote¬†Family Matters amid two moves and the birth of my son, now a web developer in Boston. Time d… Read More

Read More >

Late summer reading, writing and hiking

Summer is holding on here on our hilltop. We went hiking with the grandkids recently. We took the popular Bridle Path trail up Rattlesnake Mountain overlooking beautiful Squam Lake. Afterward, Joe and I hung out with my brother and his wife in Meredith on Lake Winnipesaukee. A memorable late-summer day.  

Like so many places, we need rain here in northern New England, but my pot of basil is hanging on. I made pesto and froze it in a heart-shaped ice-cube tray. Not sure if the gang will go for heart-shaped pesto instead of sherbet! A nice late-summer drink is to freeze sherbet in a cute tray and drop a c… Read More

Read More >

The Elusive Finian Bracken

Creating and now working with the characters in my Sharpe & Donovan suspense series has been fun, difficult, exciting, exasperating, creatively fulfilling and…interesting.

Yes, interesting!

Take Finian Bracken, an Irish priest and whiskey man who appears in every Sharpe & Donovan tale. Writing about him has meant I’ve learned more about whiskey, sheep in Ireland, Maine bean-hole suppers, early Irish saints and so much more.

Finian came together and started to feel real for me during a writing getaway to Ireland. One afternoon, I¬†took long walk to a historic cemetery on the sout… Read More

Read More >