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How To Eat ~ 3 Simple Rules by @DonnaFaz #Food #Cooking #HealthyLiving

I don’t know about you, but I love food. There aren’t very many food items that I won’t eat. Over the course of my life, I’ve been skinny and I’ve been fat (it’s an ugly word, but it fits so I’m using it). I’m happy to say that, right now, I’m at a weight that is healthy for me. Here are the three simple rules I used to get there.

1. Eat Mindfully

Three times each day we have the opportunity to truly practice who we are and what we believe. All of us should ask ourselves a few questions about what we’re eating. Are whole foods healthier for me than processed foods? Am I bothered by what the overuse of pesticides and fertilizers is doing to our planet? Am I concerned with GMOs? Do I want to contribute to my local economy? You could probably think of many more profound questions to ponder… and I invite you to suggest them in the comment section.

2. Eat Just Enough

My beloved father passed away four years ago. When eating out, his favorite places to go were to “all you can eat” buffets. He was obese and suffered with Type 2 Diabetes. (I inherited my love of food from my dad.) I have come to realize that I am often compelled to eat for reasons other than hunger. I try really hard not to do that, although I have to admit that I fail every once in a while.

As I get older, I find that I am eating less. My metabolism has slowed down, so I don’t need as many calories. I feel better when I eat smaller meals; I suffer fewer bouts of heartburn and bloating. I’m not telling you to go hungry. I’m only suggesting that you eat just enough to feel satisfied.

3. Eat Mostly Plants

It’s a fact: eating meat contributes to heart disease, cancer, and a shortened life span. And I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that animals used for food are treated with abject cruelty. Many years ago in the time of the hunter/gatherer, there was a deep sense of gratitude, even reverence, offered to any animal that gave its life to the hunter; the sacrifice of the animal was recognized and appreciated. We’ve completely lost sight of that concept. Today, we do the slaughtering in hiding, and the practice is horrendous. A tiny bit of research will show you it’s true. Everyone who eats meat should take the time to really think about how that steak, that bacon, that fried chicken came to be on their plate.

Am I telling you to become vegetarian? Absolutely not. I eat meat. I just don’t eat it very often. And when I do, I do it mindfully.

Did you know that a plant-based diet can reverse heart disease? It’s true! Other great reasons to eat mostly plants:

·       Most veggies have only 10 to 50 calories per cup, while 1 cup of cooked ground beef contains 340 calories with 44% saturated fat.

·       Eating plants is better for the environment. It takes 15 pounds of grain to raise 1 pound of beef, and 5 pounds of grain to raise 1 pound of chicken. Animal products are the highest producers of greenhouse gases. I was astounded to read that it takes 460 gallons of water to produce one quarter-pound hamburger. Wow!

·       It’s cheaper. The average “fast food” meal for a family of 4 costs an average of $24. Well, you can cook a whole pot of lentil soup and serve a fresh salad with a loaf of crusty, fresh-baked bread and the meal will cost right around $10 for that same family of 4.

I guess what I’m trying to do is get you to think before you eat. I am still a firm believer in the old adage “all things in moderation.” I still have a sweet tooth, and I work hard to get in my 10,000 steps per day, but if we practice more conscious living, all of us will be the better for it.  

How do you feel about my 3 simple rules for how to eat? Are there any rules you would add?

A Message to My Child ~ #Parenting #WednesdayWisdom

Navigating the river called parenting isn’t easy. When you were young, we laughed as we splashed in the babbling brook of life. We explored the shallows, marveled at the iridescent minnows, turned over rocks to find red salamanders, constantly curious and awed by our discoveries. I paddled through the current, steering you this way or that, always going in the direction I thought was best.

Time passed, and your urge to test your paddling skills grew… so, for a short while, we shared in the chore. Rains came, and the river widened and deepened. Storms billowed in the clouds overhead, rousing a choppy current that felt scary, even dangerous. The sun rose and calm returned. Such is life on the river.

I slowly came to the realization that it was time to step out of the canoe, hand over the paddle, allow you to navigate your own way. In that instant, the river’s name changed to Life, and it became yours. Sometimes, watching from the shoreline is excruciating. It is during those moments I force myself to remember that I did my very best during our together years to teach you when to battle the current, when to drift with it, and, if need be, how to swim. Most times, though, I am astonished by your strong, confident strokes, your keen sense of piloting.

You are on the right course, of this I am certain. I am confident in your ability to judge the ebb and flow of Life. I am sure you know your vessel, the strength of its keel, the weight of its anchor, the location of its grab rails, the cut of its wake. You’ve got this, come sunshine or squall.

I will try to relax, but I can’t promise to do so. I’m a parent, remember. And I love you. If you should ever need me, I am here. But in my heart, I know you have your bearing. I know you will find your flow and do well on this journey. 

What is #LaborDay and Why the Celebration? by @DonnaFaz

According to the US Government’s Department of Labor webpage, “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”

Through the use of municipal ordinances, legislation in support of Labor Day started as each state enacted its own laws and statutes. On June 28, 1894, Congress passed an act making the first Monday of September of each year a legal holiday.

Here are some great quotes celebrating hard work and the workers who do it:

“Genius begins great works; labor alone finishes them.” ~Joseph Joubert

“If you knew how much work went into it, you wouldn’t call it genius.” ~Michelangelo

“Without labor, nothing prospers.” ~Sophocles

“All labor that lifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr

“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” ~Confucius

“Work is no disgrace; the disgrace is idleness.” ~Greek Proverb

“The man who rolls up his shirtsleeves is rarely in danger of losing his shirt.” ~Unknown

Which quote is YOUR favorite?


Cornbread, Southern Style #Recipe

My friend, Sue Ward, lives in the UK and recently asked for a recipe for cornbread. So I am dedicating today’s post to her.

My mother was born in Kentucky and grew up in the mountains of West Virginia in a coal town called Red Dragon. My father was born in Virginia, and when his father took a job on the railroad, the family moved to Hinton, West Virginia. So I come for a long line of true Southerners.

Having learned to bake cornbread from my mother and my father’s mother, I bake from an age-old recipe that I feel is authentically southern. And savory. (I can hear my grandmother now, “No self-respecting Southerner puts sugar in cornbread.” Oh, how I miss that genuine, straightforward woman!) So here is the recipe handed down to me from my mother. (Please note: the original recipe calls for bacon grease rather than vegetable oil, but everyone I know is trying to eat healthier these days. Also, my mother and grandmother always baked their cornbread in an iron skillet which gave the bread a nice crust, but not everyone has an 8 inch iron skillet, so I've replaced that with an 8 inch square pan.)

Southern Style Cornbread

1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees (for UK cooks: 218 Celsius, gas mark 7)

1.    In a bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt.
2.    In a second bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and oil.
3.    Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just enough to combine. Do not over mix.
4.    Pour batter into a greased, 8 inch square pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

I often add a teaspoon of liquid smoke which offers the smoky flavor of bacon without the added animal fat.

Everyone should try the original recipe (using 1/4 cup bacon grease, from American-style smoked bacon, instead of the oil) at least once in their life. It is absolutely delicious!

Showcase Yourself! Pin a Tweet! @DonnaFaz

What you’re about to read isn’t new information. Twitter has allowed tweet-pinning for quite sometime. However, I find few Twitter users who take advantage of this useful tool.

Why should you pin a tweet to the top of your profile page?

When someone on Twitter re-tweets (RTs) one of your posts, it’s simply good Twitter etiquette to return the favor if you can. If they have a tweet pinned to the top of their profile page, then it’s easy to know which tweet they would prefer to have you RT. And the same goes for you; if you RT someone, they’re very likely to visit your Twitter page to RT something for you. Having a tweet pinned to your profile page, ready to be RTed, is a great way to find a wider audience for your posts.

Showcase yourself by pinning your very best content. Examples of tweets to pin: a link to your newsletter sign up, the cover of a new release, news of a sale or a giveaway, etc.

How to pin a tweet:

1.    Log onto Twitter.

2.    Post a tweet, or choose a tweet, you’d like to pin.

3.    Click on the three dots located at the bottom right hand corner of the tweet.

4.    Click on “pin to profile page.”

It’s that simple. I have used pinned tweets to grow my newsletter subscribers, promote a new release, advertise a sale, and highlight a particularly informative blog post. Right now, I have pinned a teaser about my newest release, Falling for a Single Mom. Later this month, I plan to pin a tweet advertising a $0.99 promo of Romance Beach Bundles 2 which will be on sale from August 16 - 23. 

Twitter offers this pinning option free of charge, so don’t forget to use this valuable tool to showcase yourself and your books.

Summery Lemon Blueberry Dessert @DonnaFaz #Recipes #Food

There’s nothing more refreshing as a summer dessert than the combination of lemon and blueberry. This dessert is so easy, you won’t believe it. It’s so delicious, your family and friends will ask you to make it, again and again.

I used a 7 inch by 11 inch clear glass dish in which to assemble my dessert because the graham crackers fit very nicely in the bottom. If you don’t have a dish this size, simply use whatever you have, snapping the graham crackers into pieces that will fit into the bottom for the “crust.”

Summery Lemon Blueberry Dessert

2 boxes (2.9 oz) lemon “cook and serve” pudding
2/3 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel (optional)
4 cups water (divided)
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed
10 graham crackers
1 pint fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried

1.    In a saucepan, stir together the dry lemon pudding mix, sugar, egg yolks, lemon peel, and 1/2 cup water until smooth. Make sure all of the pudding mix is well-incorporated. Add the additional 3 1/2 cups water and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until pudding comes to a boil and thickens. Set aside to cool.

2.    Add Cool Whip to the cooled pudding mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.

3.    Assemble your dessert: Line the bottom of a 7 inch x 11 inch oblong dish with 4 graham crackers. Top with half of the pudding, smoothing into an even layer. Top pudding with half of the blueberries. Add 4 more graham crackers, pressing down a bit so the crackers are in contact with the pudding. Layer on the remaining pudding and spread into an even layer. Top with remaining blueberries. Place remaining 2 graham crackers into a plastic baggie and crush into crumbs. Sprinkle crumbs evenly over the top of the pudding.

4.    Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to give the “crust” time to soften.

5.    To serve, cut chilled dessert into squares. Serves 8.