Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fun Recipes for Holidays

These two recipes are great when you're at a family get together. Easy to make up and I've got to say very addictive.

Probably why I make treats during the holidays. So enjoy!


Cocoa Krispie Treats

1 cup light Karo syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter (chunky is the best!)
6 cups Cocoa Krispies

Heat Karo syrup and sugar in pan until starting to bubble. Stir in peanut butter until mixture is smooth. Fold in Cocoa Krispies and stir until well blended. Put in 9x13 pan and chill slightly. Cut into squares. These always go very fast!!

Peanut Butter Squares

1 cup margarine
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup peanut butter (I prefer chunky) 12 oz pkg milk choc chips
2 cups graham cracker crumbs

Melt margarine, add peanut butter, powdered sugar and graham cracker crumbs.

Press into 9x13 pan. Melt chocolate chips and spread on top. Chill and cut into small square pieces. Store in refrigerator.

Very much like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

At the Movies

“We’re too far away,” Fluff complained. “Let’s go down front.”

“No way. Up top is the best.” Puff hopped up and down on the seat back.

“If you two don’t calm down Jazz and Nick will never bring us again,” Irma shushed the bunny slippers.

“So these are moving pictures? How fascinating.” Phinneas, Irma’s ghostly beau circa 1851, peered nearsightedly at the large screen where random questions rolled across the white surface. “What’s a matrix?”

“This is the last time I spend a week with you guys,” Horace grumbled, slouching in the seat. “I can go to the movies up on the mountain, ya know. Why can’t we hit some clubs?”

“You know very well why. It’s not Halloween,” Irma reminded him.

“It’s about time,” Fluff shouted, watching Jazz and Nick, laden down with snacks, ascending the steps. “Did you remember my red licorice?”

“Popcorn?” Puff demanded. “And there better not be butter on it.”

"Popcorn is always better with butter on it," Fluff said. "Mine does have butter, right?"

"And cheese sprinkles on mine?" Horace chimed in, scrambling over Irma and Phinneas. 'What about my chocolate covered raisins? Milk Duds and peanut M&Ms?”

“Just settle down and you’ll all get your food,” Jazz told them, handing out the treats while Nick settled large drink cups in the holders.

Fluff and Puff exchanged telling glances when four women plopped down in front of them and started chattering away while texting.

Puff's nose curled up in a bunny snarl. "Wow, this virus is really nasty." He shook himself all over, rearing back and letting loose a sneeze that sent spray everywhere.

At the same time Fluff started coughing so hard he levitated off the seat.

The women looked over their shoulders with horror, glared at them then Jazz and Nick and quickly retreated.

Jazz leaned over. "If you ever do that again, I will teleport you home so fast your heads will reach the house before your bodies do," she threatened.

"You should thank us," Fluff insisted. "They would have talked all through the movie anyway."

“And probably talked on their cells too. I really wanted to see the new Pixar film,” Puff groused. 'Why couldn't we see that?"

“No way! Horror only,” Fluff chimed in. "Did you see the poster for the new zombie film? Awesome!"

“There was a lovely romantic comedy advertised on the billboard outside,” Irma added her two cents.

Jazz looked at Nick who was sprawled in the end seat.

“Do you realize how much I paid out there?” he asked grimly. “I could have bought a car for what I had to shell out to that pimply faced kid? Why did we have to bring them?”

Jazz settled in the chair next to him, her hand taking his as she passed the cardboard tray filled with boxes of candy down the line. “Because you’re a good vampire,” she cooed, kissing him on the cheek. “And you made the mistake of asking me to go to the movies in front of the others.”
“We still could have left them home.” He relented a bit when she kissed him again. “We’re in the secluded top row, but we’ve got them too. Any reason why we couldn’t stick them elsewhere?”

“One excellent one. This is the only theater in that area that hasn’t banned F&P.” She tossed a piece of popcorn into the air and caught it with her mouth. “We’re at a movie marathon that will put them to sleep in minutes.” She murmured. “Then we can make out.”

Nick perked up at the idea. He ignored the creatures squabbling over treats, Irma’s complaints that Jazz still hadn’t fixed it so she could eat solid food, and Horace’s mutters he hoped no one he knew saw him here.

“What movie did you choose?” he asked, realizing he hadn’t bothered to look when Jazz offered to get the tickets. As the lights dimmed and the opening credits started rolling he realized his witch’s ardor might have more to do with the dark-haired man that would show up on the screen soon than Nick’s vampire charm.

“Johnny Depp again!” Fluff howled, spitting bits of popcorn everywhere. “You didn’t say we were going to see all three Pirates of the Caribbean movies?”

Horace looked a lot happier now. “All right! Keria Knightley is hot.”

Nick slumped further down in the seat even as Jazz laid her head on his shoulder.

“Forget it,” he muttered. “No pirate and damsel in distress for you. No shiver me timbers.”

Jazz kept on smiling as she stole a piece of licorice. “We’ll see.”

copyright 2010 Linda Wisdom

Friday, June 25, 2010

Behind The Book -- The Countess and the Cowboy

Cowboys and Indians Never Fought Like This

When Letitia DeMarco won the deed to her ex’s Montana ranch, she didn’t know it came with a negative cash flow – and Tyler Barnes, a foreman with a sate-size chip on his shoulder. Before she could unpack her boots, they locked spurs and the ranch became the wildest honky-tonk in town.

Letitia was sultry, high society and Italian in every way but heritage. Tyler was the soul of Montana’s wide-open spaces. He had been born and bred on a ranch, his easy chair was a horse’s back. When they locked horns, it was winner take all. And come high noon, there would be only one winner in this showdown.

It was a given that Jack’s sister would have a book of her own. The Countess and the Cowboy was released in March, 1993.

And since Letitia was high maintenance with the couture wardrobe and equally high maintenance cat, I decided to throw her into an entirely alien atmosphere by her gaining a Montana ranch.

Could she navigate the rough territory in her stilettos? Could she manage to walk among dirt and dust without it getting on her white skirt or shoes?

We’re talking Letitia disdains dirt. And Tyler is just the kind of cowboy whose boots you want to find under your bed. They butt heads a lot, but isn’t that the best part of a romance?

The fun part is Letitia performs her own magic on the ranch and at the end you even get a peek at what Holly and Jack are up to.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Better Than Sex Brownies

There's days we need chocolate! Will kill for it.

Trust me, these brownies will fulfill that need. I tend to use chocolate flavored coffee to give it extra punch.


Texas Brownies

2 cup. flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup strong brewed coffee or water
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup margarine
2 tbsp. cocoa
1/4 cup milk
3 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Combine flour and sugar.
In heavy pan, combine butter, shortening, coffee or water and cocoa. Stir and heat to boiling.
Pour boiling mixture over the flour and sugar in the large bowl. Add the buttermilk, eggs, baking soda and vanilla.
Mix well using wooden spoon or high speed on mixer.
Pour into well buttered 17x1/2x11 jelly roll pan.
Bake at 400 for 20 min. or until brownies done in center.
While brownies bake, prepare the frosting. In pan, combine butter, cocoa and milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.
Mix in powdered sugar and add vanilla; stir til smooth.
pour warm frosting over brownies as soon as you take them out of oven.

If you want thicker frosting, halve again, or double, the ingredients

Monday, June 21, 2010

Behind The Book -- Under His Spell

Creature of the Night

One summer solstice, luminous black-clad Jack Montgomery materialized out of the mist in a meadow. He claimed a vacant Victorian lair for his haunt. Then, with all the smooth moves of Dracula, he swiftly began to lure sweet Holly Bennett …

Holly didn’t know her kids had cast an ancient spell for a dad. She only knew she was wooed with candlelight, dreamy nights and the fathomless depths of those witchy dark eyes.

She hardly cared who Jack really was … not after she tasted his love elixir and reveled in the abracadabra of his secret touch. She just hoped – as All Hallows’ Eve drew near – that this magic man would never disappear.

Under His Spell is the perfect title for this Harlequin American Romance, which was released in October 1992.

I originally wrote more magic into the book, but my editor suggested changes. The funny thing about this was that my agent at the time didn’t think my editor would take it. I’d given her a few paranormal synopses and this was one of them.

But I wanted to write this book and even better the idea crossed my editor’s desk at a time when she decided to come up with calendar books. And what better book for Halloween than a story set in Salem, MA and a heroine who’s a descendant from an accused witch. Not to mention a hero with an air of mystery and known for his horror novels.

Jack and Holly were fun to write. The questions among the town. Was he a vampire. Could he be some other sort of creature.

Plus, there was Jack’s ultra-fashionable sister, Letitia, along with her beloved cat, whose fur perfectly matched her blonde hair. More questions. Could Letitia and the cat be one and the same?

See why it was so much fun?

I’ve got to say that Jack could cross my threshold any time!


Friday, June 18, 2010

Guest Blogging

I'll be at on the 23rd. I hope you'll stop by!


Behind The Book -- Free Spirits

Happy Birthday!

Alex Cassidy thought being single and turning thirty was an awful combination. The only thing worse was waking up the morning after her birthday bash with a hangover.

And just when she thought she’d hit rock bottom, she opened her eyes … and screamed. There, at the foot of her bed, looking dapper and doting, were the ghosts of her parents.

Alex thought al ghosts rattled chains and inspired fear. Her ghosts baked brownies and inspired aggravation. Alex thought all ghosts were fleeting apparitions … Her ghosts were here to stay.

At least until they delivered their birthday present ... Mr. Right!

My Harlequin American Romance Free Spirits was published in August,1991 and is one of my absolute favorite books. It was so much fun to write and I have to say I laughed a lot during the creative process.

I got the idea of a woman who celebrates her 30th birthday and wakes up to find her parents returned from the dead and determined to stay with her until she gets married. And the only ones who see them are her and her cat.

In a way, thanks to them cartoonist Alex meets ER doc Michael Duffy and the romance is on, but it’s also crazy no thanks to her parents. Is that a puff of smoke over there or her parents? Will Michael think she needs heavy medication if he catches her talking to air?

And does her mother always have to complain about the dress she was buried in? Or her dad’s constant search for golf games on TV?

I was so glad this book turned out to be popular and was reissued a few times, because there’s nothing like reading a book that makes you laugh.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Don't Tell Me I Can't Do That

First off, I’m stubborn. As in Irish stubborn. If you tell me I can’t do something I’ll go right out and do that just to prove I can do it.

Although I was determined to be a writer and in high school I had journalism and English instructors willing to critique my work and encourage me, I also knew I just might need a day job. With my love of animals, it was a given I wanted to be a vet. I even talked to my counselor about it. And I was told, “You’re too small. Petite women can’t be vets. Well, unless you specialize in a small animal practice. Women don’t do well in that.” Huh? I wanted to prove everyone wrong. Only one problem. I sucked in science and math. Give me that baby shark to dissect, I was fine. Other technical stuff, forget it.

Then one weekend, my parents took a friend and I up to Universal Studios. We spent the day taking the tour and hanging out. At that time, they also had a show with the make up artists. My friend thought doing film and TV make up would be fun and we got a chance to talk to one of the artists only to be told at this time, “women do hair, not make up.” Now, I’m very shy and have always freely admitted it, but to hear this? I told him since we females wore make up, wouldn’t it be more logical for us to do make up, but we’d let the guys do hair. After we left, I was horrified I said that, even if I know I wasn’t wrong in what I said.

In college, I was told I didn’t have a future in fiction writing. That I should consider newspaper writing, even if it was something I wasn’t the least bit interested in. As you all know, I didn’t listen to that advice.

In retrospect, I think about all I’d miss if I had listened to people over the years. Sure, I didn’t go to veterinary school, but along the way I’ve picked up a lot of knowledge thanks to vets and vet tech friends willing to share their expertise with me. For fun, I took some make up classes taught by a film artist who worked with major actors and actresses. Talk about stories she had to tell!

And I’ve conquered some of my shyness in talking to people either about my books or digging for information for a book. I’ve met great people along the way, some of them turning into good friends.

But it wouldn’t have happened if I took the safe path.

So what about you? Have any of you ever been told, “no, you can’t do that”? If you have, how do you handle it?

Also, I'll be guest blogging at on Wed. the 17th. Come by and say hi!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Behind the Book -- Voices in the Night

His Voice Was Her Heartbeat

Malnutrition, cruelty and blazing heat were the unbearable realities of the South American prison. All that stood behind newscaster MJ Blake and the madness of despair was a stranger’s voice.

As the days turned into weeks, the unseen reporter in the adjoining cell gave MJ courage when she needed it, replaced her apathy with anger, and even made her laugh. They shared whispered memories, hopes, secrets and regrets …

Eighteen months after winning her freedom, MJ was pretending that her life, her work and her psyche weren’t ravaged by a season in the darkest corner of hell.

And then MJ heard the voice …

There are always so many sources for our ideas. Some we search for, others just appear when we least expect it.

That’s what happened to me late one night in 1989.

Since my husband traveled a lot and I’m a night owl to begin with, I enjoyed watching a lot of late night TV. One such night, I watched a documentary on PBS about posttraumatic stress disorder also known as combat fatigue and shell shock. John Huston made this documentary in 1946 but it was banned from public view for 30 years. It showed soldiers entering a hospital and the care they received.

By the time it was finished I was crying and I knew I had the beginning of an idea. During that time I also saw a news story on military nurses who suffered PTSD after returning from war zones.

But how would I write it?

No. I thought if soldiers suffered this, why not others who entered combat zones. That’s when I thought of war correspondents. MJ Blake popped into my head and the story was born. She worked as a war correspondent and in the beginning of the book was shut up in a cell in a South American prison with her only human contact the prisoner in the next cell. Naturally a guy with a gorgeous Australian accent and even if she couldn’t see him, she had someone to talk to.

Except when MJ escapes the prison she leaves damaged. I knew that her boss would need to see something that would really hit home and one morning a sonic boom overhead gave me that idea. A sonic boom over MJ’s office that had her scrambling for cover.

And why MJ shows up at a retreat that’s set up to help those like her and yes, Jake Palmer is also there, because he was equally damaged.

While they’re seeking help, they also seek each other, because they feel no one else can understand them.

My Harlequin American Romance Voices in the Night was released in 1991. It wasn’t an easy book to write, but I felt compelled and to this day I’m happy I’m did.


Teaching A Class Again

I'm teaching an indepth class on characterization at that starts on June 12.

I'll be going into all the characters you need in your book, how to make them 3D and memorable.

After all, how many of us buy books because we love the characters?


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Late Night Visitor

I’ve always said critters like to hang out at my house.

We’ve had a lot of oppossums at night. They especially love munching the strawberry plants.

And our area also snakes, skunks, and the occasional coyote. When our tract was brand new and the area was more rural than it is now, it was nothing to see a coyote in the street. And there was a mama owl one summer who thought Bogie would make a great snack for her babies. I had to go out with the dogs every time they wanted out at night.

First we had Gabby adopt us. The cat talks all the time and the neighbor’s name for him worked perfectly.

And with the warm days we leave the garage door up a bit during the day so he could go in and out then I'd close it all the way before bedtime.

Last night I went out to the garage, noticed Gabby's food dish wasn't where it normally was and after I closed the garage door all the way down a skunk walked out from under my husband's truck.

He might have been cute and well mannered, but I don't allow Gabby to have overnight guests. I popped the door up and hopped back in the house, so I wouldn’t spook the critter.

Luckily, the skunk went out and the smell was out later front and not in the garage. Billy the Exterminator said baking soda and hydrogen peroxide if you get sprayed. I'd just rather not get sprayed.

And this morning, Barney examined the back yard big time, his nose to the ground. He wanted out big time last night and no way I was going to allow that!

Poor Gabby. I can’t keep the garage door a bit during the evening anymore. But I like my SUV to smell nice!


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Book Signing Stories

I was part of an author event on Saturday night at our local bookstore where we had a meet ‘n greet the authors, a Q&A session, and a couple short documentaries. A fun evening, because you always meet new people and authors you haven’t met before.

No book signing is the same. And believe me, I’ve had my share!

It also gave me an idea of what to write for today.

My first book signing was a group signing. My first two books were released and I was seated next to long time author Roberta Geillis. I envied the long line of readers waiting for her to sign their books, many of them carrying all her books. I was ready to offer to sign her name just so I would look busy. I always hoped I would reach the point where fans would show up with bags of my books. It took four years before that happened and what a great feeling that was!

We all have memorable fans over the years and one really sticks in my mind.

In 1991 I gave a workshop at a conference in Texas and participated in a group signing there. A good friend and I sat at our table and smiled as people walked around the ballroom. One elderly woman stopped in front of me, peered at my name plaque and said, “you’re not the one” and moved on. Ooookay. A little later, she returned and asked if I was also Linda Wisdom. I wrote my first Silhouettes as Linda Wisdom then switched to Linda Randall Wisdom when I moved to Dell Candlelight Ecstasy. When I started writing for Harlequin American Romance, they wanted me to keep the Linda Randall Wisdom name. I told the woman yes and she puffed up sputtering, “you need to tell a body these things!” I felt I needed to apologize and did while giving her a bookmark that listed all my books. She asked me if I’d sign even used copies of my books and I assured her I would.

I didn’t return to the conference for two years and guess who showed up at the signing? You got it. That woman not only walked up to my table, she carried bags of all my books and asked me to sign each and every one. I couldn’t believe she hunted down my books and I happily signed them all.

There have been other fans at signings I’ve remembered over the years, but that woman will always be a favorite.

And couldn’t you see her in a bookstore seeing new Linda Wisdom books and muttering, “she still needs to tell a body these things” or “humph, someone else writes as Linda Wisdom”.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Fun Article I'm Mentioned In

I'm part of an author event at a local bookstore this Saturday! My sister-in-law told me I was mentioned on the front page of the local section. Here's the link for the article.

When Cats Come to Stay

My family loves to kid me that I’m a critter magnet. If there’s one in the neighborhood it’s understandable they’ll show up here. There’s a sign only critters can read that says ‘Linda will keep you safe’.

Barney showed up here that way and we have a lot of cats that enjoy our front courtyard because it’s gated. They know they’re safe, there’s a bench by the front door they can curl up on or a sun dappled concrete walkway. We had several cats hang out in the back yard, but since Barney reminded them it’s his territory, they chose the front.

And along the way one neighbor moved away, abandoning his sweet tabby and another pretty much ignored her black and white kitty by replacing her with another cat. She’s old, but can totally kick kitty butt, and she now resides in our garage where she’s got food, water, and even a chair she enjoys sleeping in or draped along the top.

Tabby has a long tail and now named LT and black and white kitty who’s a talker is Gabby. Even funnier is that Gabby has two homes, as we learned yesterday when talking to a neighbor across the street. Seems she lived there last winter, but now she’s moved in with us, but LT still hangs out over there, but he also comes over here to visit. And since the garage door is up a bit he can sneak in for a snack.

We’re both families who aren’t going to abandon animals just because someone else has. And both have dogs who aren’t fond of cats.

I am a total dog person, but I adore cats for their independent natures and the way they enjoy looking at the world.

Even funnier is that we now have a tortoiseshell kitty hanging out and one morning Barney woke me up as he barked his little head off while bouncing up and down on the bed. Seems the torti had climbed up onto our tile roof and was looking in the window.

So, yes, there’s that invisible to human eyes sign stating ‘you’re safe here’. I don’t remember when the one neighbor got Gabby, so I’m not sure of her age. But it doesn’t matter; she has a home here and across the street.