Category Archives: Romance Writing

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.

Buy Links: Amazon BN ibooks KOBO

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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Vanity of Vanities…All is Vanity. AND Muffins #MFRWAuthor

A totally self indulgent silly post. You can skip to the end for a really good recipe.

This phrase has been running through my head these last few weeks. I honestly had no idea it was a quote from the bible..thereby exposing how little attention I paid in bible camp. Yes, bible camp. Camp SAYSF, in fact, in southern Maryland. I was, oh, around 11 or 12.

136I was a ‘hefty’ young person, or so I thought. Even now, many years past young, I still obsess over my appearance. Okay, I can forget to brush my hair sometimes. And, yeah that was a paw print on my skirt last week. All right, I don’t own a pair of heels. Geesh, you trying to expose all my secrets? At least my face stayed pretty, right?

Then I needed an author head shot for my publisher. They let me send in a bit of graphic I’d 222889_101308309961119_101308129961137_9460_7954124_n[1]created instead. Seems over the years we took pictures of the dogs, not so much the people holding the dogs. From time to time I’d come across a photo, but for sure I didn’t look like THAT. Did I?

022When the heck do our faces end up with more lines than smooth skin? Does it happen overnight? Certainly that face in the photo isn’t the one I saw in the mirror, ummm…when WAS the last time I really did look in the mirror?

Yikes, that long?

It so happened my little Biddy had a successful show last month, and we posed for a me only 001win picture. Well, she posed for the picture, I was caught gaping. I asked a photographer friend if he could just blur my face…you know, like the witness protection program? In this case I guess it would be handler protection? He said I didn’t look that bad. Problem with e-mail, you never know how much the person on the other end is chuckling.

Mona 0513I have to face the facts: I’m no longer that crazy kid with the decent skin. Now I have to work at keeping my skin from showing the effects of years spent outside. I’ve come to the conclusion taking off my glasses goes a long way toward fixing my dry skin. Maybe I should ask for gauze over the camera lens?

Okay, as promised, a really yummy recipe, for CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE MUFFINS Super simple, also. For this first round I didn’t add the chocolate but I might do so in the future. I generally have a bar of 90% in the freezer for an occasional indulgence. Here are the ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Swerve Sweetener or granulated erythritol
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup pecans, coursely chopped
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp molasses (optional)
  • 2.5 oz 90% cacao chocolate, chopped OR homemade sugar-free chocolate chips

I left out the molasses and the chocolate but I just might try the molasses…bet it gives a knockout richness to the final goodie. Oh, and I used the mini muffin tins so I didn’t have to turn on the full sized oven.

For once I managed to get a picture before I ate everything.
Happy munching!



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Faking Your Way to Success

A year or so ago, I found this TED talk from 2012. I remind myself to go back and rewatch as often as possible.

Today this phrase jumped out: “Women feel chronically less important than men” Looks like some of us need to break ourselves out of this state of being.

And  THIS CHART a visual reminder of body language.

Even if I wasn’t born or raised to succeed in something I could ask myself: What does a successful person in this field do? Even more to the point: How does a successful person act/speak/behave? Hasn’t helped with my housekeeping but it has more than once pulled me out of a deep abyss.
Then I found out, more often than not, these successful people were faking it right along with me.

Like ANNA BLAKE a successful horse trainer, Dressage rider, rescue organizer. Just as doubt ridden as the rest of us but moving forward every day.

Step by step, arms in the air. We’re all in this together and together we will succeed.


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Here to Stay #MFRWAuthor

Last month the Internet bristled with discussions of the 50 Shades movie. So many wanted to express their opinion on the effect that movie might have on the morals of the general population. Opinions are wonderful, we all have them and fortunately so far we have the right to express said opinions.

Except I heard a few too many references meant to be ‘cute,’ which disparaged romance books. “Suitable for a Mills and Boon” “Reads like a Harlequin romance” and several more allusions to the poor writing of genre books, in particular Romance. Funny, I hear few if any remarks about the unreality of murders being solved by the local florist. Or any mockery for super charged super hero loner adventurer billionaire sharpshooters. Yet these books are devoured at a great rate. Not as great as Romance but…

I’ve been around Romance writers for, oh dear, almost thirty years. I’ve heard the same mockery countless times. Even the publication by the University of Pennsylvania Press of the Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women: Romance Writers on the Appeal of the Romance did not stem the tide of mockery. Just a few days ago a cover artist referred to Romance books as “trashy,” explaining that they’re not ‘high literature.’

Which is a shame since we know not only is Romance the hottest genre, Romance writers are some of the best trained, most supportive writers around. More to the point: Love stories have been around since before the written word, and will be here long after we have spread ourselves out into the Universe. The story of people meeting and being willing to take a chance on their future is timeless.

Romance is here to stay.

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