Monthly Archives: December 2015

The Ghosts of Christmas Presents #MFRWAuthor

003.JPGOkay, I admit the holidays this year were a visit to Grinchville for me. I never quite got into the ‘spirit,’ whatever that might be, and for the most part I’ve stayed home and alone during what are supposed to be gathering together times.

Dang, that last sentence was looooong. Anyway, for the most part I really didn’t mind the isolation. I was working through personal issues (Tom was the Christmas person) as well as just getting by. And I saw no need to inflict my black mood on my friends.


I had a message from someone who is one of the most caring and wonderful people I have ever met. She is always doing something for someone else. She admitted she was avoiding her friends during this season since she could not afford to buy presents for all of them.

Really? And, WOW. Wait a minute, was that why I’ve been hiding out from humanity? Hmmmm. Was I worried about not being able to afford numerous great gifts, or was I no longer seeing the need to buy friendships that way?

But…no, I don’t really see it as buying friendships. I see it as finding the perfect gift at the perfect time. If not at the perfect time, then finding those gifts when we can, and sharing the find.

I have spent so many Christmases worrying about not doing enough, not giving enough. Worrying myself sick in advance and fretting that it wasn’t enough afterward.

However, I did find the PERFECT gift for someone, based on a casual conversation about a book he’d had as a child. And someone I don’t see near often enough any more walked up my driveway with a dragon journal and pen…because she knew I’d love it.

And I do. Love it. Love her. Love all my friends, wherever they are. Because it’s not about the gifts, it’s about the people.

Blessings of the season, everyone.




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Getting By, Making Do #MFRWAuthor


Winter Sunset, so soothing

It hasn’t been a wonderful year for many of my friends. They’ve lost family members, jobs, beloved pets, even their own lives. Any problems I might have are in comparison trivial. Still, they are problems. Like the toilet backing up, or needing to haul some water right after a surprise heavy snow. Or choosing what I thought would be the best route to pick up meat for the dogs, only to be the worst.

Trivial issues in the grand scheme but still personal issues. What is normally a pleasant two hour drive became three tense hours. The payoff was wonderful meat scraps for the dogs.

Solving the toilet meant several forays onto the Internet for non chemical solutions, to protect the septic system. The plungers I had weren’t working. Very hot water with dish soap didn’t do much but I had a really clean toilet. After several fruitless attempt I invested in one of those long snake things, and a different sort of plunger. Still no success. Reading the instructions on the snake made some difference. Actually, a lot of difference. I was about ready to head for the baking soda and vinegar, which I had not seen on my first searches when…yep, it drained.


Then there was the water situation. I made the trek out for water later in the day, and the sun was past setting by the time I was home and parked. The valve was frozen…well, duh, temperatures had just that day climbed out of the twenties,and I was getting so cold. I lost the discussion with myself about letting it go until morning. Warm water over the valve didn’t do much. This situation called for TA DA, the hair dryer solution.

Except, I no longer have a hair dryer in the house since I so rarely use it. A quick search found the small one in the motor home (used to fluff up Saluki ears for a show…hey, I have my priorities!)

005Standing holding a hair dryer on a frozen valve when the temperature is dropping isn’t on my list of top twenty fun things to do. Finally, the problem solving part of my brain kicked into gear. A quick search around the garage netted a nice heavy wire basket and a cloth cover. No doubt a slight longer search might bring up dinosaur bones and flinty arrow heads. That garage needs a bit of cleaning out.

Voila, a valve thawing contraption came into being and I soon had a tank of washing water, enough at least to last a week.

Small problems, none of them earth shattering, but solving them myself always brings such a feeling of accomplishment.

Have I been writing in between these minor obstacles/ Why yes I have been. I’m having so much fun learning why Sydney’s sister Lana took Mosby off Stormhaven, all of which led to Sydney meeting Devin and…well, you know, A Question of Honor.





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WE HAVE A GUEST Welcome Christina Tetreault #MFRWAuthor

What fun to have company in the run up to Christmas. 3-ThePlayboyNextDoorFINAL600I am pleased to host Christina. Her upcoming book sounds sexy and fun and just right for a holiday read.

After a blind date stands her up, Catrina Striker stops in O’Leary’s Pub for a sandwich, nothing else. Then Tony Bates, North Salem’s resident playboy, sits down next to her and destiny takes over. Cat knows all about Tony’s reputation, but that doesn’t stop her from doing something she’s never done before: invite him back to her apartment.

Tony Bates has always looked at Catrina as nothing but his buddy’s little sister, until a chance encounter one summer night changes all that.

Since the sudden death of his college sweetheart, Tony has kept all his relationships casual and fun. Everyone knows that, which is why Cat and Tony agree to keep their involvement a secret rather than risk Tony’s friendship with her brother. However, what starts out as a secret fling soon becomes much more, and Tony must decide if he’s ready to risk his heart again or lose the woman who completes him.


Across the café, Cat stopped to speak with Sue Adams, and she looked in his direction. She gave him the tiniest of nods and then said something to Sue before joining the line at the counter.
Thanks to the location of his table, Tony could watch her as she waited in line without anyone the wiser. While she waited, she spoke with the other customers in line, and he couldn’t look away.
Cat radiated friendliness. She had this sunny personality that called people to her. A person couldn’t be around her and remain in a bad mood. Even people she didn’t know well appeared at ease and happy around her.
He told himself that was one of the reasons he couldn’t stay away from her. He simply liked the way he felt around her.
Brendan Michaels, another lifelong North Salem resident, joined the line behind her. Right away, he placed a hand on her shoulder and started up a conversation. As Tony watched her shake her head at whatever Brendan said, he forced himself to remain seated rather than bolt across the room and rip Brendan’s arm off. Although many people wouldn’t mind seeing Brendan put in his place, residents would wonder why Tony had intervened because, by the looks of it, Brendan and Cat were only talking.
Tony ground his teeth together as she said something in response to Brendan’s statement. What was taking so long anyway? How hard was it for Skye to make Cat a cup of coffee? From behind the counter, Skye handed Cat her order. Cat stopped two more times before reaching him.
“Hi, Tony. How did the game go?” She made no move to sit. Instead, she sipped her coffee.
“We won by three touchdowns. It was like Beverly sent their JV team to play today.”
His hands itched to reach out and pull her close. Since that was out of the question, he wrapped his hands around his coffee mug.
“Big plans for the afternoon?” he asked.
“I’m meeting Kelsey here. What about you?”
“Waiting for my mom. She asked me to meet her. Why don’t you sit and keep me company until Kelsey gets here.”
She took the seat next to him, her knee bumping into his leg.
“So what kind of trouble are you and Miss Bancroft planning to get into today?”
She scooted her chair a little closer to him. “Shopping. She needs something for Mrs. O’Brien’s wedding.”
No one would ever call him a saint. Tony released his coffee mug and reached under the table. “A Saturday night at the mall, where’s the fun in that?”
He caressed her thigh, wishing she had on a skirt instead of jeans.
“Shopping can be fun, especially when you plan to get a few new things for yourself. Ella told me about the two new stores that opened last week. I can’t wait to check them out.”
He’d gotten an earful from his mother after her last trip to the mall about one of the new stores. She’d gone on for a good thirty minutes about how inappropriate the outfits on the mannequins were and how the store shouldn’t be allowed to hang photos in the windows. He loved his mom, but sometimes she could be a bit of a prude.
“Besides, it won’t take all day. I told Kelsey I need to be home by seven because I have other things to do.”
Under the table, Cat ran her fingertips over his hand, and it reminded him of the way she’d caressed his chest earlier that week.
“How does that sound?” she whispered, her voice almost inaudible.
Visions of her in some new lacy outfits formed, and his heart rate accelerated.
“Four sounds better,” he answered, grateful for the noise in the café.
“Kelsey loves to shop. If I’m lucky, I’ll get her out of the mall by five.”
“I’ll be at your place by six then.” An hour should be enough time for her to get home. “Text me if you get home earlier,” he whispered.
Under the table, she squeezed his hand. “Your mom just walked in.”
Tony looked up as his mom walked toward them. Right away, Cat released his hand and reached for her coffee.
“Catrina, how are you?” His mom joined them at the table.
“Great, Mrs. Bates, and you?”
“Fabulous. I love being retired. Right after Maureen’s wedding, I’m off on a cruise with my sister for a week.”
He shifted in his seat as his mother and secret lover discussed Maureen O’Brien’s upcoming wedding, an event the entire town was talking about.
“Do you want a coffee or anything, Mom?” Anything to get him away from the table.

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About The Author:
I started writing at the age of 10 on my grandmother’s manual typewriter and never stopped. When I am not driving my 3 daughters (ages 8, 6, and 6) around to their various activities or chasing around our three dogs, I am working on a story or reading a romance novel. Currently, I have two series out, The Sherbrookes of Newport and Love on The North Shore. You can visit my website or follow me on Facebook to learn more about my characters and to track my progress on my current writing projects.

Author Links:
Twitter: @cgricci


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Pizza, Pizza, Pizza #MFRWAuthor

Late in November, I traveled to Omaha to judge Afghan Hounds. Well actually I landed in Omaha then went across the Missouri river to Council Bluffs, Iowa. Great location, wonderful people.

The return flight had me in the Omaha airport waiting for my late night plane, and I succumbed to the personal pan size pizza from the food vendor. And..I ate the WHOLE thing. Not just the toppings but crust and all.

Sigh. After so many years of resisting, I gave in.

And it was good. Oh so yummy GOOD. To the point that I briefly wondered if all this low carb stuff was worth it. Yes, that good.

What was good about it? What’s good about most pizzas. The crust of course! The crunchy chewy olive oil drenched crust.

Good pizza crusts are loaded with high quality flour and gluten which puts them off the menu for me. What could I do to get at least close to that taste sensation?

When I got home I went through my recipes, and remembered the Fathead Pizza. I originally found this recipe on a forum but it has also had its own blog entries. The basic recipe:

1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
¾ cup almond flour
2 tbs cream cheese
1 egg
Garlic salt
Parchment paper and cookie sheet

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Microwave the mozzarella and cream cheese until smooth.
3. Mix the cheese with the almond flour and egg. I also add a few dashes of parsley, fennel and oregano.
4. Flatten out the dough on the parchment paper/cookie sheet. I like to put my hand in a sandwich bag so that nothing sticks.
5. Liberally sprinkle the crust with garlic salt. Poke the dough a bit with a fork to prevent bubbles*.
6. Bake for 8 minutes, and poke any bubbles.
7. Bake for another 4-6 minutes until it is slightly brown on top.
8. Add any ingredients for your topping and then pop back into the oven to melt the cheese on top

Where it says use water on your hands, I used olive oil while patting out that crust. Then I added

cook the crust first

cook the crust first

a layer of Parmesan flakes. I cooked the crust, then added simple toppings: mushrooms, green chilies, along with, of course, more cheese.016

Was it good? Oh, yeah. It was good that night, and for several subsequent meals. I reheated mostly in a frying pan, using that good olive oil to prep the pan.

Was it as good as a ‘real’ pizza? I think it’s as real as it gets but no, it’s not as mouth indulging delicious as a yeast-y gluten-y pizza. But it also won’t interfere with my eating plan, nor will it trigger me into more more more.

And that, my friends, is good.



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