Sunday, August 31, 2014

Warm Hearts Relaunch 7 - Kat Mancos

Today we've got Kat Mancos talking about relaunching - or, perhaps more accurately, evolving - in terms of one's own writing.  We'll also get a teaser from Kat's recent release, Taste of Air.  Where else can you find a line like, "That man has always had his cock in one alchemist or another."

It's all yours, Kat!

An Unexpected Direction

Saturday, August 30, 2014

On Tea: Republic of Tea's Downton Abbey English Rose Tea

Republic of Tea is a very recognizable brand of “better” teas that are still widely available, even in a lot of grocery chains.  They do both “bag” and “leaf,” traditional teas, green, white, uniquely flavored, herbals, “health” teas… in short, the lot.  Variety, generally, is the spice of life, but I’m always a little wary of a brand with too much variety.  That can lead to spreading too thin, in my opinion. 

Republic of Tea, however, manages it fairly well.  They have such a lot of different teas, it would be almost impossible for me to give a broad overview of their entire line, but the teas I’ve had from them so far have always been excellent.  Enough so that when I see something I’d normally roll my eyes and pass on from other brands, I’m willing to give Republic a go. 

Click here to read more:

Monday, August 25, 2014

Warm Hearts Relaunch 6 - Louise Lyons

Today I'm welcoming Louise Lyons who's here with an excerpt from her recent release, Conflicted.  Warning for mental images of well-built guys in tight denim! (And at the end, be sure to find the link where you can enter to win a $10 Amazon gift card from Louise!)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

On Tea: Ty-phoo

Ty-phoo is another solid, everyday tea, something you can have every morning without feeling too much like you’re putting on airs and graces. 

Most of the teas I’ve talked about so far have been black tea blends like PG Tips and Yorkshire.  Ty-phoo is an Assam tea – also a black tea, but Assam indicates the tea-growing region and characteristics of the tea.  Assam is a more malty tea with a lot of body.  It’s a smooth, mild tea with distinctive flavor.  Ty-phoo is a good, brisk blend, on par with Yorkshire.

The name, apparently (according to Wikipedia), comes from the Chinese for "Doctor" and has nothing to do with a rainy season.  

While I don’t generally have a splash of milk in my tea, I definitely find Ty-phoo to be a tea that can stand up to a drop of milk.  Ty-phoo is an all-purpose tea, good for your breakfast, with lunch, or just an afternoon boost.  Works as well with toast and beans as it does a Digestive.

I give it a solid 9/10.  

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Warm Hearts Relaunch 5 - Sarah Madison

Sarah is with us today to talk about her forthcoming release Walk a Mile, sequel to Unspeakable Words, and what it's like writing a sequel.  And, yes, writers love their characters as much as readers!

“What took you so long?”

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Warm Hearts Relaunch 4 - Lee Rowan

Look who's here!  It's Lee Rowan to talk about relaunching domestically (and the associated hair-pulling to which anyone who's remodeled can attest!)  Lee, you have the floor... what's left of it! ;-) 

Where is Mike Holmes When You Really Need Him?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

On Tea: Stash Licorice Spice

And now for something completely different.  And I do mean completely.

Now, I hear you over there:  “Ew, licorice, in tea?!”  You’re thinking, “I don’t like black jelly beans or allsorts or Sambuca.  Why would I want to go near licorice tea?”

Well, this isn’t just licorice tea.  It’s licorice spice.  Licorice, believe it or not, is an excellent sweetener.  Now, just personally, I do enjoy absinthe/Pernod, which has a very strong licorice-ish taste.  And I like allsorts.  I don’t like Good n Plenty, though.  Those are just yucky.  Mainly because they don’t know what they are doing with the licorice.  Stash, however, does (and they do some pretty good “flavored” teas, too).

A graphic representation for those who do and those who do not like licorice.

But anyway, this is licorice spice tea.  In addition to the licorice, it’s also got lots of other lovely things that I’m betting you do know you like, such as: cinnamon, clove, orange, cardamom.  This is a lot more like those anise pizzelles everybody’s grandma used to make (the ones that don’t numb your mouth from the anise, I promise!)  What’s a pizzelle?  Oh, come on!  Those crisp little fancy “waffle” cookies?  Yeah. 

Those go great with tea, by the way.  And since it’s an herbal tea, it’s perfect to have with dessert – or for dessert, for that matter (it’s as sweet as that slice of cheesecake, but NO CALORIES!)  If you do want some little nibble with your licorice spice tea, I recommend keeping it in the sweets category.  Cookies, cakes, chocolate digestives, brownies, the aforementioned pizzelles, or their hard-to-come-by Dutch cousin, the stroopwafle. 

I hear you, again, over there.  “First licorice tea, and now stroopwafle?  What the hell is that?!”  Ok, usually called “Dutch cookies” when marketed in English-speaking places, these are two pizzelle like “waffles” with caramelly syrup between them.  The right way to savor a stroopwafle is to set it on top of your cup of hot tea (or coffee or chocolate) and let the steam soften the waffle and syrup so that it gets gooey in the middle.  If you find yourself with the mini, silver-dollar sized ones, put them on a plate and pop ‘em in the microwave for a few seconds, enough for them to get nice a “stroopey.”  Milk in this?  No idea why you would feel the need, but if you’re a consistent milk user, I don’t think it would put this off.  Might be really nice, actually.

Nice light color (not under-brewed!) and a half a really delicious chocolate chunk brownie - and I still lost 5 pounds last month!

One seriously itty-bitty caveat with this tea (really, this is miniscule)… I find, for some reason, it cools down fast in the cup.  Because it’s an herbal, I do brew it at just barely a boil (not quite as fast as a boil as for a black tea), so that may be a part of it, but I still think it gets lukewarm much quicker than anything else.  Barely even worth knocking off a fraction of a point, because otherwise this is a really stellar tea for an herbal, mass-market, bagged tea. 

I give it a 9.5 of 10 as herbals go.

As you can see here, I like it well enough to keep a couple boxes in.