Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Cover Reveal: Sopaipilla Blues

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Get ready to laugh with my heroine Melinda and her trusty Chihuahua, Nacho Cujo.
Coming this Summer 2014!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tuesday Blue Plate Special: Spaghetti and Meatballs

Welcome to Casa Cassandra and the Blue Plate Special of the day. I've been editing a short story for inclusion into a charity anthology and there is a scene where the heroine, Eva, is making spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread. I realized this would be the perfect opportunity to introduce readers of my blog to a new featurette I'll be posting every other Tuesday.  The blue plate special will host recipes either from scenes in books, or in the back of books, or include dishes themed around a book's setting. I hope ya'll will enjoy your visit to Casa Cassandra and think about some of your favorite book-inspired meals.

Recipe from: When Eva Gets Even by Cass Curtis

(Part of the Romance Divas Charity Anthology coming August 2014)

Eva's Truth Or Lie Spaghetti and Meatballs


    •    2 eggs
    •    1/2 cup skim milk
    •    1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
    •    2 pounds lean ground beef
    •    1/2 cup finely chopped onion
    •    1 clove garlic, smashed, minced
    •    1 teaspoon salt
    •    1/2 teaspoon pepper

    •    3 tablespoons olive oil
    •    1/2 cup chopped onion
    •    2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
    •    1 tablespoon sugar
    •    2 teaspoons salt
    •    1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
    •    1/2 teaspoon dried leaf basil
    •    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    •    1 large can (28 to 36 ounces total) crushed Italian tomatoes
    •    2 cans (6 ounces each) tomato paste
    •    16 ounces thin spaghetti
    •    Parmesan cheese

In a medium sized mixing bowl, beat eggs, milk and bread crumbs until well mixed. Let stand for approx. 5 minutes. Now add ground beef, onion, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix gently until well blended then shape into about 18-20 meatballs, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place meatballs in a well greased large shallow baking pan. Bake meatballs at 450° for 25 minutes. Drain off excess grease if needed.

Sauté diced onion in extra virgin olive oil in skillet until tender and begins to turn golden. Add remaining ingredients for the sauce in large pot and then bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Add meatballs then cover and simmer 50 to 60 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.

Cook spaghetti according to the package's directions, then drain using strainer.

Ladle meatballs and sauce over cooked noodles and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese as desired. Spaghetti and meatballs serves 6.

Attention book readers & bloggers!
If you'd like to send us a recipe or two along with the name of the book that inspired your creations, you'll be part of the Blue Plate Special Contributors club and eligible for a $25 Amazon gift card to be given away during my Reader Appreciation Week in November.

The recipe directions should be in your own words, not copied off the internet. You will retain all rights to your recipes and any accompanying photographs, but in submitting them for consideration/contest entry, you are giving Cassandra Curtis express permission to their use. All recipes/entries along with any accompanying photographs should be sent digitally c/o assistant @ cassandracurtis [dot] com (no spaces), with the subject line: Blue Plate Special Recipe Entry.

Authors, do you have an upcoming book or a recently released book you'd like to feature, that has a scene with a recipe and want to share? For more information, see the above or contact assistant @ cassandracurtis [dot] com (no spaces), with the subject line: Blue Plate Special Recipe inquiry.

Must be 18+ to enter. The odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. Contest void where prohibited by law. I strive to make my prize winners happy, however, as with all my contests, it is the participant’s responsibility to check the blog to see if their name is announced as a winner, and/or to respond to winning notification emails in order to claim your prize. Prizes must be claimed within 30 days of contest winning announcement. If not claimed within 30 days, the prize will either be added to another contest, or a second chance drawing at my discretion. Not responsible for lost/stolen mail.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday: A Day In The Life (Of An Author) JoAnne Myers

Welcome readers! A Day In The Life (Of An Author) allows book fans a special peek behind the scenes and into the mind of an author. We fully admit we aren't exactly normal, from the way we approach our research to the way we squirrel away and save bits of time so we can write. It takes a special kind of crazy to invent people and worlds, coloring them with a variety of perceptions, experiences, and imagination. But we wouldn't have it any other way.

Today's guest is indie author, JoAnne Myers.

Writing Paranormal
by JoAnne Myers

When it comes to fiction writing, almost anything goes. That is why I love writing paranormal and fantasy stories. The author can go completely over the edge and make something unbelievable seem believable

For my ghost stories, I get a lot of my inspiration from real life experiences. Not necessarily my own, either. I watch television programs with the supernatural and paranormal flare; documentaries from ordinary people who claim they experienced either an afterlife experience, or a haunting.

Some of the stories from my anthology, Wicked Intentions, are based on actual hauntings. In The Legend of Lake Manor, I placed my young psychic, Cassandra Lopez, in a haunted mansion I fashioned on my knowledge of a three-story mansion in my hometown and information from television about a restaurant/bar in Ohio, supposedly ruled by demons so violent that the local police are constantly closing it down.

A television documentary about a young mother plagued by ghost sightings since childhood, inspired The Haunting of Barb Marie and her gift/curse.

And The Apartment, in which my newlyweds, Bill and Gayle, are plagued by sightings of evil ghosts that threaten their marriage and theirs lives, originated from a real apartment haunted by the ghosts of two homosexual lovers who died violently. The legend says no tenant is able to stay there until the spirits are chased off by a paranormal investigation team.

On the Discovery Channel, I learned of the colonial explorer Jonathon Carver who lived during the 1700s and whose ghost is believed to be haunting the Summerwind estate, built in the early 20th century. Carver’s ghost is, supposedly, searching the house’s foundations for deeds to a vast tract of land (10,000 square miles) given to him by Sioux Indian chiefs as a reward for the peace treaty he created between two warring tribes. In my Summer Wind, 29 year-old Ginger is mysteriously drawn to the old mansion, and like the many owners of the real mansion, the haunting had a negative and profound effect on Ginger and her family.

Another investigative program concerned one sister’s psychic premonitions about her twin’s murder. This led to my story, Blood Ties, and my heroine, Audra Roper’s dark, disturbing visions of her sister’s disappearance and the roller coaster of risks, heartbreak, and intrigue that followed.

Dark Visions came from reading a newspaper story while sitting in a diner. A young woman began having visions of her father's disappearance that was actually his murder from years earlier. So, my Carrie Reynolds starts having nightmares on her twenty-sixth birthday and believes these ‘dark visions’ can solve the twenty year disappearance of her father.

I set my murder mystery, Truth Behind the Lies, on Norfolk Island after following a three year long murder investigation on that island from 2003. In my story, Federal Police Inspector Ian Christian faces attacks, more murders and ghostly occurrences, and the killer is closer than anyone realizes.

Respectfully yours, JoAnne Myers-Author of Murder Most Foul, Flagitious, Loves, Myths, and Monsters, The Crime of the Century, Poems About Life, Love, and Everything in Between, Twisted Love, Wicked Intentions.

Wicked Intentions - 7 bone chilling paranormal tales
by JoAnne Myers



Sunday, April 20, 2014

Writer's Corner: JoAnne Myers

Welcome to my Writer's Corner, where twice a month guest authors drop by to offer writing tips for beginner's and pro's. Today's guest author is JoAnne Myers, writer of the mystery Murder Most Foul,  here to talk about indie publishing with Lulu.

Self Publishing: The Pros and Cons of It 
by JoAnne Myers

The best thing about self-publishing is that you are guaranteed to be published, no matter what type book you choose to write. Traditional publishers often look for something not yet written about, or seldom written about; such as true life alien abductions, or what Earth might be like in the year 4000, if humans last that long.

Self-publishing allows the author more leeway with subject matter. The author can tell it like it is; unlike traditional publishers who generally follow a code of conduct, for the fear of treading on someone’s toes. Traditional publishers always have that fear of being sued for libel, whereas self-publishers tend to not care what others think.

With self publishing every detail is up to the author. From hiring a professional editor if the self publishing author is not prolific in the English language. Editing is expensive, and every book, even self publishing needs some editing to help polish the final product. Self-publishing does offer editing and marketing services, but for an additional price, that can be expensive. All that work is taken care of by a traditional publisher, which means less headaches and work for the author.

When it comes to book covers, self-publishing companies usually give the author a selection of artwork to choose from. Some of this artwork is free, but some usually cost a few dollars. The free artwork is seldom great, and might not coincide with the books material. For paid artwork at self-publishing companies, the artwork is upgraded and more pleasing to the eye, but is an extra cost, which might for some self-publishers, mean an extra dent in their pocketbooks. Traditional publishers have their own art department, which means the author is guaranteed a terrific book cover, which is included in the contract. Both self-publishing and traditional publishing companies, though, usually allow the author to use their own artwork if the author chooses too, especially if the book is about the author’s family, pet, friends, or profession. Using personal artwork adds a touch of personification and genuine sincerity to the book; which is always a good selling point.

What I discovered through Amazon, and something they did not tell me in the beginning, is that with them, the author must keep a supply of their books at the Amazon warehouse. Amazon is not a print on demand (POD) distributor as is Lulu, as I initially believed it to be. Also, with the author’s books being stored at the Amazon warehouse, the author is charged for a monthly storage fee. I don’t know what this storage fee is, but I do know, that the more books the author keeps stored, the higher the storage fee is. This storage requirement can be expensive. The author is required to pay this monthly storage fee, even if their book does not sell. When it comes to any type of artwork, whether it be books, jewelry, or candles, artwork is usually a hard product to sell. If it were easy, all artists and authors would be wealthy.

Lulu on the other hand, is a print on demand self publisher. They do not store books, but keep each title stored in a queue, at a contracted print on demand printer.

Also, Lulu allows 80% of the royalties to go to the author, and Amazon allows 70%, but that percentage is only applicable for books sold to certain countries outside of the U.S., such as Brazil, Japan, Mexico, and India, and only for titles enrolled in KDP Select. This in reality, means that the author receives an average 35% of the sales, and Amazon gets the other 65%.

An author can struggle with locating a traditional publishing company for many reasons. They have written a book that only they are interested in; such as their family history. I don’t believe most would be interested in reading about someone else’s family tree, unless it is as brilliant as the book Roots, was. If an author is struggling with locating a traditional publishing company, then self-publishing is for them. I for one believe that if a writer has written a book, they should continue seeking out the traditional publishing company. This only applies if their book is polished and ready for sale. If a book has many graphical errors, it will not be taken seriously by a traditional publisher. Getting away with graphical errors in a self-published book is possible, but it would be disappointing and frustrating to the reader. Whether the book is self-published or traditionally published, the final product should be free of errors, and entertaining, and pleasing to the eye. In my opinion, when it comes to Lulu versus Amazon, Amazon bites the dust. Good luck.

Respectfully Yours,

JoAnne Myers, Author of Murder Most Foul, Wicked Intentions, Loves', Myths', and Monsters', The Crime of the Century, Twisted Love, and Flagitious.

When two dismembered torsos wash up on the banks of the local river in the small industrial town of Pleasant Valley, residents are horrified. Between contradicting statements, police ineptitude, lust, lies, manipulation, the motorcycle gang The Devil’s Disciples, crooked cops, and a botched crime scene, everyone becomes a suspect.

The young beautiful Jackie Reeves, a registered nurse, believes the killer is a man from her past. She contacts the dangerously handsome FBI Agent Walker Harmon. An arrest is made, but Harmon and Jackie believe an innocent man is being railroaded by local cops. Determined to find the truth, before anymore killings, Agent Harmon and Jackie are forced to run a gauntlet of deep trouble and turmoil, which marks them for death.

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The opinions stated are guest author Ms. Myers and not necessarily those of When Midnight Comes or Ms. Curtis.

Happy Easter!

Wishing everyone a Hoppy Easter! ;)

Check back later tonight for a new Writer's Corner post with guest blogger, author JoAnne Myers.