Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Garlic Chicken

One of the very first dishes I ever made as an adult was garlic chicken. I remember seeing it on Rachael Ray's "30 Minute Meals". It was quick, easy, and boy did it taste good! Over the years, it's evolved as I've tweaked the recipe to suit the needs of whatever I'm making that day.

What I recently did was add some red bell peppers because my daughter absolutely adores bell peppers and I have to get a veggie in her meal. It really tasted delicious so I think red bell pepper may become the newest addition to my staple. Here's the recipe for you to try.

Garlic Chicken: 
1 lb chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, minced
1 red bell pepper, cut into bite size pieces
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp season salt
pinch of salt
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tbs veggie oil

1. In a medium skillet, heat oil and add onion and red bell pepper. Saute until onions are translucent.
2. Add garlic and saute for about a minute.
3. Add chicken and spices.
4. Cook for about 5-10 minutes (depending on the size of pieces you cut) until chicken is cooked through. Serve.

Simple, right? It's probably one of the best dishes I've made and it's sooooo quick! Because this recipe is so versatile, you can pair it with just about anything! Most recently, I paired it with oven roasted broccoli and rice pilaf.  I've transformed the garlic chicken with Italian spices for Chicken Alfredo. I've given it a Mexican kick for tacos or fajitas. It's also been the base of my Harissa Chicken. You can do so much because this recipe lends itself to any and all flavor palettes.

Go ahead and try this and let me know what you think! I know you're gonna love it!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Memory of Us by Camille DiMaio: Author Interview #2 + Giveaway!

THE MEMORY OF US by  Camille DiMaio
Genre: Historical Romantic Literary Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Press
Date of Publication: May 31, 2016
Number of Pages: 400
Scroll down for Giveaway!

Julianne Westcott was living the kind of life that other Protestant girls in prewar Liverpool could only dream about: old money, silk ball gowns, and prominent young men lining up to escort her. But when she learns of a blind-and-deaf brother, institutionalized since birth, the illusion of her perfect life and family shatters around her.
While visiting her brother in secret, Julianne meets and befriends Kyle McCarthy, an Irish Catholic groundskeeper studying to become a priest. Caught between her family’s expectations, Kyle’s devotion to the Church, and the intense new feelings that the forbidden courtship has awakened in her, Julianne must make a choice: uphold the life she’s always known or follow the difficult path toward love.
But as war ripples through the world and the Blitz decimates England, a tragic accident forces Julianne to leave everything behind and forge a new life built on lies she’s told to protect the ones she loves. Now, after twenty years of hiding from her past, the truth finds her—will she be brave enough to face it?
"Powerful, emotional, and amazing read." 
"A smashing debut!" 
"Brilliantly told and executed." 
 "Will make you cry in the best way possible." 
"This is a beautiful story of redemption, love, and honor." 
"I fell in love with the characters."
 "I'm not sure if I have ever had such a range of emotions with a book." 
 "This is one of the best books that I have read!" 
"Touching and funny and tragic and beautiful." 
"Packs a powerful, emotional punch."

What was the hardest part of writing this book? 
The hardest thing about writing the book was raising and homeschooling four children through the process, as well as helping my husband run our real estate business.  I stayed up many late hours to complete it, thanks to copious amounts of Dr. Pepper.  (Yes, I’m a Texas girl!)

What did you enjoy most about writing this book? 
After writing the basic story, I loved digging in to the research to flesh out the details.  There are several scenes that would not even be in the book without having done that research.  I would stumble upon something about the time or location and say, “That HAS to be in the book!”  The strongest incidence of this was writing about the island of Angelsey in Wales, and the legend I learned about.

Who are some of your favorite authors you feel were influential in your work? What
impact have they had on your writing? 
My favorite author is Kate Morton.  I admire her excellent word choices, and I believe that has had an influence on my writing.  I also love Beatriz Williams, Rebecca Ryman, Leila Meacham, Lucinda Riley, and Lauren Willig. 

What literary character is most like you?
Easy one.  I think I’m most like Jane Eyre.  I had few friends growing up, and was always just a little adult from an early age.  Very serious and studious.  I would have definitely been the hard-working type to go off and become a governess, romantic enough to fall in love with the lord of the manor, full of enough conviction to leave him on moral grounds, and compassionate enough to return to him even in his tragic condition. 

What did you find most useful in learning to write?  
I went to several seminars in which Donald Maass was teaching the craft of writing, and he was just magnificent.  My early draft looks very little like my final product because his classes made me go deeper and deeper and deeper.

If you had a superpower, what would it be? 
Instant transporting.  I do not like flying, but I love love love to travel.  If I could get there in an instant, I would do it.  And, with San Antonio traffic growing the way it is, I’d be happy to transport even within the city.

If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be? 
Probably an elephant.  They have strong family bonds, and that is a very important part of my life.

Camille is an award-winning real estate agent in San Antonio who, along with her husband of 18 years, home schools their four children. She has a bucket list that is never-ending, and uses her adventures to inspire her writing. She's lived in Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California, and spends enough time in Hawai'i to feel like a local. She's traveled to four continents (so far), and met Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II. She just about fainted when she had a chance to meet her musical idol, Paul McCartney, too. Camille studied political science in college, but found working on actual campaigns much more fun. She belts out Broadway tunes whenever the moment strikes, and forever stays up late reading “just one more chapter”. There's almost nothing she wouldn't try, so long as it doesn't involve heights, roller skates, or anything illegal. "The Memory of Us" is Camille's debut novel. Her second, "Before the Rain Falls" will be released in the spring of 2017.
  June 21 - July 5, 2016

6/21 Missus Gonzo  -- Review
6/22 Books and Broomsticks– Promo
6/23 The Page Unbound  – Author Interview #1
6/24 Texas Book Lover  – Guest Post
6/25 The Librarian Talks – Review
6/26 Country Girl Bookaholic  – Excerpt
6/27 It's a Jenn World – Author Interview #2
6/28 Byers Editing Reviews & Blog  -- Review
6/29 Forgotten Winds – Book Trailer
6/30 Margie's Must Reads – Review
7/1   Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books – Promo
7/2  The Crazy Booksellers – Author Interview #3
7/3   My Book Fix Blog -- Review
7/4   StoreyBook Reviews  – Author Interview #4
7/5   Hall Ways Blog – Review
blog tour services provided by

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Book Review: Locke & Key Volumes 1-6 by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez

"Welcome to Keyhouse, kid."
"Was it weird to grow up in a house with a name?"
"You have no idea."

The Lockes have moved to the family estate, Keyhouse, after suffering a death in the family. As they adjust to life, the Locke kids find keys throughout the house. The keys aren't your average keys for they unlock powers, skills, and new dimensions. These keys are also being searched for by an evil presence who will stop at nothing to collect them all for his dark purpose.

I don't want to give away too much of the story because it's so great and I know you all will love it. It starts out innocent enough with a family struggling to recover from a major death and then delves into this twisted, sordid tale. There are frequent flashbacks to the past and I love how the past events tie in so intricately with what's going on presently with the Locke kids. The characters are wonderfully horrific at times and yet you still champion for some of them. My favorite part of the whole Locke & Key series though are the keys themselves. I could not wait to see which key would be discovered next. My favorite keys were the Shadow and Head keys.

While some may not like graphic novels/comics, I say give this one a try. It's so detailed and the illustrations are top notch. Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez created a weird world that just sucked me right in until the end. You can purchase the graphic novels chapter by chapter or you can purchase them in volumes like I did. If you are a fan of unconventional horror, I urge you to try Locke & Key. It will not disappoint you!

Here's a list of the whole series for you.
Locke & Key Volume 1: Welcome to Lovecraft

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Darkness That Could Be Felt by C. Wayne Dawson Promo + Giveaway

Treasure of the Raven King Book One
C. Wayne Dawson
Genre: Historical Military Fiction / Mystery
Publisher: White Bird Publications, LLC.
Date of Publication: May 22, 2016
# of pages: 304
Scroll down for Giveaway!

Women are disappearing off the streets of Vienna in 1684 and Captain Mathis Zieglar vows to find out why. Defying orders to break off his investigation, he discovers they are being trafficked into the Muslim slave market. His only hope of ransoming them from a life of abuse is to find the treasure of the Raven King. The treasure is a secret code lodged inside an ancient text that will rock the Ottoman and Holy Roman Empires to their foundations.

November, 1462
Wallachia, near Castle King’s Rock

“The Mohammedans have found us, Sire.”

Vlad Dracula, War Lord of Wallachia and Transylvania, jerked his horse to a stop. Dracula snapped his head around to look at his companion. “How close, Grigore?”

An excited buzz broke out amongst the warlord’s ten bodyguards. They came to a halt, sending up billows of dough-colored dust that contrasted with the forest’s darkness. Sweat dripped down their leather armor. Their horses pawed the ground impatiently, straining to resume their canters.

Grigore steadied himself with one hand against the back of his panting horse and caught his breath. He turned his steed around and pointed to a mountain pass five hundred feet up the road. “They’re there, Prince. If we pause for a short rest, they’ll be upon us and have our necks.”

“Damn. Reversing our horse’s shoes didn’t throw them off our trail for long,” gasped a trooper beside Dracula, fighting to control a mount that grew nervous as the pitch of desperation in the men’s voices intensified.

Dracula nodded as he tightened his grip on the reins. He focused on the road climbing sharply to the west. “No one can outrun Turkish cavalry forever, Luca. The spahis never quit.”

Cold hatred stiffened him in his saddle. He would love dashing into his pursuers and tearing into as many as possible before they could bring him down. It would be sweet revenge. They had taunted his fiancée until she flung herself from the castle window to her death. But no, not now. There was something more important to finish, something that would deliciously even the score.

Dracula called out to a man holding the reins of a packhorse. Bulging saddlebags draped over the animal’s sides. “Imre, you and Cosmin must take the next road away from us and keep the treasure safe.”

Dracula looked toward a basket lashed to the side of a mule, which was tied to the packhorse. A small head with wide eyes peered over the brim. “And take my son with you. Remember, you hold the fate of Christendom in your hands. Make your way to Buda and meet me there.”

As the men rode away with the boy, Dracula pulled chainmail over his head and tossed it to the side of the road. “Lighten your load, brothers. If we can make it to the next pass, the Hungarian army will save us.”

The small band of Dracula’s retainers cast aside their armor, then spurred their sweating mounts up the grade.

His heart pounding like a drum, Dracula racked his memory. There was a special trail up there somewhere. He’d outwit the Mohammedans, he always did.

Halfway up the grade, an arrow flew over his shoulder. Another struck Grigore in the leg.

“Radu.” Dracula cursed. “My brother has shown the Turks the shortcut.”

C. Wayne Dawson writes for The Williamson County Sun, and has written for History Magazine, Focus On Georgetown, and SAFVIC Law Enforcement Newsletter. He also founded Central Texas Authors, a group that helps authors promote and market their books through media and collaborative efforts.
C. Wayne Dawson was a Professor of History for ten years and created the Chautauqua program at Mt. San Antonio College. There, he invited scholars, government officials and activists from clashing perspectives to engage one another in a rational, but passionate public forum.
The discussions took on the burning issues of the day: Immigration, Islam and Democracy, Israel or Palestine, The Patriot Act, and Human Trafficking. Attendance ranged from 200-350 people, including students, faculty and the general public. These events attracted representatives from the press, several radio stations, and Telemundo television.
In 2009, the students of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society honored him with the Glaux Mentor Teacher of Year Award for his efforts in bringing the Chautuaqua program to Mt. SAC.
In the fall of 2012, he delivered six lectures at Sun City’s Senior University on “Muslims and Christians, the Struggle for Europe, 1453-1697.”
He recently completed writing his historically based novel, Vienna’s Last Jihad and begun his second, Treasure of the Raven King.

  June 13 - June 22, 2016
Check out the other great blogs on the tour! 
6/13     Hall Ways Blog 
6/14     Forgotten Winds

6/16     Byers Editing Reviews & Blog
6/17     The Page Unbound
6/19     The Crazy Booksellers                        
6/20     It's a Jenn World         
6/20     Reading By Moonlight - Review
6/21     My Book Fix Blog         
6/22     A Novel Reality 
6/22     Forgotten Winds - Review
   blog tour services provided by