Real Vampires Get Lucky by Gerry Bartlett

When I was looking for ideas for the third book, Real Vampires Get Lucky, in the Glory St. Clair vampire series, I wanted to put her in a really bad situation, so bad that it would take the rest of the book for Glory to work her way out of the jam. Hopefully, this would hook the reader and get her to read on. So I dumped a seriously wounded mortal in Glory’s path and gave her a choice: let someone die or turn him or her vampire.

Glory had always sworn never to make a new vampire because she’s had her own regrets about taking on a pair of fangs. For one thing, she would have lost those ten pounds that have been riding on her hips all these years before she’d let her vampire lover turn her. For another she’d never had a chance to sample chocolate truffles. Enough said. Now, although she’s been a vampire for over four hundred years, Glory doesn’t have a clue about how to turn someone vampire. So here she is, in the alley behind her vintage clothing shop staring at this person who is one breath away from death. This alley is significant because bad things always seem to happen here. At least they did in book one(Real Vampires Have Curves) and two(Real Vampires Live Large) of the series. That’s important because when you’re writing a series, you’re juggling not only a continuing cast of characters, but their memories and the settings they’ve lived in.

Back to that mortal bleeding out. Glory’s stuck. She’s got to turn this person vampire. And Gerry, the writer, has to decide whether it’s going to be a hot guy or a woman. Hmm. Hot guy is competition for the love of Glory’s life. Interesting, but not what I need right now. So it’s a woman lying there. And to motivate Glory further, this woman has an expensive handbag and great boots. Her Gucci wallet is lying a few feet away and Glory’s shape-shifting bodyguard Valdez has a laugh when he reads the name on the driver’s license: Lucky Carver(See where I got my title?). A phone call to Glory’s boyfriend finally gets Glory the information she needs to make Lucky into a vampire. Well, that problem’s solved. But of course there are lots more problems ahead for Glory and a woman who turns out to be a loan shark for paranormals.

Loan shark? Where did that come from? I needed a reason for Lucky to be in an alley in Austin, Texas at two in the morning. Authors are constantly working on a character’s motivation, goals, conflict. Fancy words that mean “Does this make sense?” Lucky was used to collecting debts at night in strange places, but this time that habit almost got her killed. When Glory takes her upstairs and begins her vampire training, our heroine is stuck with a woman who doesn’t know the meaning of “low profile” and who has a very unhappy would-be killer still after her.

Since this is also a romance, I gave Lucky an ex-boyfriend whom she hates. Lucky’s idea of revenge is to turn the rock star into a vampire. Then she dumps him on Glory so our heroine can mentor him. Hmm. Imagine waking up with a naked rock star in your bed. And not just any rocker, but one whose music lights your personal fire. Now Glory’s longtime boyfriend finally has some serious competition. And Glory’s life gets really complicated.

Okay, now you’ve got the set-up for Real Vampires Get Lucky: There’s slightly chubby and always independent vampire, Gloriana St. Clair; her hunky Scottish lover, vampire Jeremy Blade; newly made vampire, Lucky and a hot rock star to resist. Sprinkle in all the continuing characters that readers of the series expect to see like Glory’s best friends and her bodyguard/dog Valdez. Oh, and don’t forget the usual suspects like vampire hunters. See why writing a series is such a challenge?

You can read an excerpt from Real Vampires Get Lucky at gerrybartlett.com. It hit bookstores June 3. Also, come visit Glory’s blog at myspace.com/gerrybartlett.

Hope to see you there!
Gerry Bartlett

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Cindy Miles

First off, thank you Heather, for having me here today! Now, Everyone--close your eyes and imagine....

What if.....

You happened to travel to the Highlands of Scotland? The air is cool and tinged with the sweet, sharp scent of clover, the moors loll and heather sits in big clumps and turns the entire side of hill lavender. White fluffy sheep dot the land, and rising from beside a dark loch is a formidable stone tower. Imagine if you were able to stay in that tower as a guest...and encountered not one but five big warriors from another century living in a supposed haunted towerhouse? That's exactly what Amelia Landry experiences when her best friend and assistant leases her the dark tower for the summer. You see, Amelia has had a serious case of Brain Fade and has three months left to write and turn in her next novel. But her writer's mojo has disappeared and she's been struggling. Hoping to gain inspiration from the creepy, haunted tower, she packs up and leaves Charleston, SC and makes for the Highlands. A big fan of Bram Stoker, Amelia's imagination takes flight as soon as she steps foot into the dark, stone, fourtheenth century keep. But she also encounters a dead-sexy laird wrapped in plaid--along with his kinsmen.

Centuries before, Ethan Munro's bride was found dead--and Ethan, whose dark reputation follows him everywhere--was blamed. After a battle between his bride's kin, a thick mist envelopes Ethan and his brethren and for centuries, they exist on a plane where for one hour a day, they solidify. Neither dead nor alive, they have long awaited for help from SOMEONE. When Amelia shows up, with her nearly fearless self, Ethan gets way more than he bargains for...

Having had the pleasure of visiting Scotland's lush Highlands a few times, the setting for Highland Knight popped right out at me. Every time I visit a crumbling castle ruin, or traipse through the wood, I can imagine the big, fierce warriors and their kin, swords drawn, curses spewing. It's a magical place alive with history, and I love reading and writing about it. I hope you do, as well!


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In the old days, I used to get censored by my editors because my love scenes were too graphic, so when the erotica subgenre exploded on the scene, it seemed inevitable that I become part of it. Even my readers kept asking, “When are you going to write an erotica?”

So I did it! The Art of Desire is my first really, really sexy book. No censorship. No holds barred. But in spite of the sensuality, I wanted it to be highly romantic and deeply emotional, too. So I created a contemporary story with a historical twist. The historical portions gave me the opportunity to write a classic romance with tragic elements. The contemporary portions gave me the chance to spread my naughty wings and write in my most erotic voice.

The result has been rewarded. So far, The Art of Desire has garnered exceptional reviews, including a Top Pick from Romantic Times. I couldn’t be more thrilled. It’s truly a book of my heart.

If you’re curious about the RT review, this is what it says:

“This story has it all--hot and varied sex scenes, a hunky hero to die for, a tough-yet-insecure heroine to identify with and a diary that links the characters to a tragic Old West love affair from a hundred years ago. The happy-ever-after ending is icing on the cake! Feather is an excellent writer who knows which details will evoke just the right emotion.” Romantic Times, 4 ½ stars, Top Pick!

Who wouldn’t be happy about that review? Lol. If you want to know more about the plot, here’s the back cover blurb:

Museum director Mandy Cooper has always been obsessed with nineteenth-century artist Catherine Burke—and the artist’s erotically charged relationship with Atacar, her enthralling American Indian lover. But Mandy’s link to the legendary couple runs deeper than she knows. She’s having a heated affair herself—with Jared Cabrillo, Atacar’s perilously handsome great-great nephew. And the consuming passion Atacar once used to seduce Catherine is now being engaged by Jared. He knows precisely what it takes to move a woman…

He’s in possession of Catherine’s wildly explicit journal. He knows every intimate detail of what she wanted and needed. But he also knows how desperately Catherine had loved Atacar and how dangerously he’d loved her. The journal is timeless and tragic, and the secrets contained within its pages can bring Mandy and Jared together, or just as surely destroy them both—desire by shocking desire.

If you’d like to see the book trailer, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ls0rwEM29iY&eurl=file://C:%5CA_Websites%5CSheriWhitefeather%5CTMPy9xpmttouo.htm

If you’d like to read an excerpt, click here: http://goodbadandunread.com/2008/04/26/book-alert-the-art-of-desire-by-cherie-feather/

For news, contests and to read my blog, you can visits my websites at: http://www.cheriefeather.com/ and http://www.sheriwhitefeather.com/

Hugs and Happy Reading!

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Donna MacMeans

Invisibility can be most revealing.

I remember precisely when I discovered the idea for THE TROUBLE WITH MOONLIGHT. It was the summer of 2006. My husband and I decided to go to the movies and chose My Super Ex-girlfriend (crummy movie, but great scene of the super girlfriend tossing a shark at her boyfriend through a skyscraper window.) I was casting about, looking for a fresh idea and thought – superpowers are hot. Look at the popular TV series – Heroes. Other recent movies: Fantastic Four, Spiderman. Perhaps I could do something with a superhero story.

I had just finished my Victorian novel, The Education of Mrs. Brimley, and had fallen in love with the time period. I figured there aren’t many superheroes in historical settings, other than vampires, so this might be good. Plus I wouldn’t be wasting all that research I did for Mrs. Brimley. So I had my setting – late Victorian England.

Now I needed a power. I thought about flying, but that would be difficult with all those skirts and whatnot. If faced with imminent death or flying, would a proper Victorian woman choose the latter if it meant someone could see up her skirt? Sorry, Mary Poppins, I don’t think so. So flying was out. I considered other powers. One of my favorites is invisibility. Remember how Harry Potter had a cloak of Invisibility – so did Frodo didn’t he? It’s a cool talent – and visual (so to speak J). I could already see the opening scene in my mind. Things floating on air with no obvious explanation.

I don’t know about you, but I hate it when the hero can turn his power on and off like a light bulb. I decided pretty early that I wanted this power to play havoc with my heroine, cause her lots of worry and anxiety about her ability to control it. And she had to be visible sometimes – I mean the hero has to be able to find her. My daughter and I talked it over as we waited at the airport for her plane to Chicago. What normal occurrence could we use that would have been available in Victorian times and would play havoc with my heroine – the moon!

We discussed the problem of clothes. That Susan chick from the Fantastic Four had her genius boyfriend come up with some clothes that could turn invisible. My poor Victorians couldn’t have had that technology. Then I remembered the headless horseman. Do you remember him? He’s really what sealed the deal. I decided he must have been of the same race of people as my heroine (nuclear accidents also were out). He rode his horse in Moonlight and his body turned invisible, giving the illusion that he was headless. Perfect.

Now all I needed was a reason to force my heroine out of her house when the moon was full, and a hero who would fall privy to her secret. The book was born.

In the midst of a moonlit safe-cracking mission, British spy James Locke witnesses a ruby necklace spirited away as if by conjurer’s trick. Following the jewels leads him to Lusinda Havershaw who’s inherited the talent of turning invisible in moonlight – at lest, the parts of her that are unclothed. Locke trains Lusinda in espionage, even while he finds her close proximity bewitchingly distracting. And as their mission to track Russian spies grows treacherous, they’ll find that the heart behaves even more mysteriously than Lusinda in moonlight.

The Trouble with Moonlight will be available June 3rd. ISBN: 978-0-425-22198-3
Read an excerpt at http://www.donnamacmeans.com/

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Ghost Moon by Rebecca York

GHOST MOON is the seventh book in a werewolf series I never planned.

When I wrote my first Moon book, KILLING MOON, I simply wanted to write a werewolf story, and I thought of the idea of a werewolf detective who uses his wolf senses to solve crimes. Then Berkley asked me for more werewolf books–and I was off and running.

By the time I got to the third book, I realized I needed to add another major theme that would expand the series. So I began writing about heroines who had psychic powers.

I used that in several books. Still, I felt that I needed a bigger canvas, so I introduced an alternate universe, parallel to our own. Only something happened there so that a lot of people suddenly acquired psychic powers, completely disrupting civilization. I’ve had characters from that world come into this one. And I’ve had characters from our world go there.

In GHOST MOON, I’m using that new setting to its full advantage, but I’m also looking for traits that will make each of my werewolf heroes unique and will create conflict between the hero and the heroine. Which is how I came up with the basic idea for the story. Caleb Marshall is the ghost of a werewolf killed 75 years ago by his cousin. And he wants to avenge his own death–which puts him in conflict with the Marshall werewolves my readers know and, hopefully, love. The heroine, Quinn, who comes from my alternate universe, is friends with the Marshalls, so she’s immediately afraid that Caleb will go after them. With my usual twisted glee, I set up a situation where she and Caleb are forced to work with them to defeat a terrorist plot.

As I planned the book, I didn’t want to back myself into a corner with a ghost hero. So I needed a way for Caleb to acquire a body. That’s part of the terrorist plot. But I don’t want to give away any more of the story by telling you more about it. Except to say that I had one more horrible idea. What if the body Caleb acquired couldn’t change to wolf form? What would that do to him?

Rebecca York

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There's a Storm on the way in GONE WITH THE WITCH, May 6, 2008

“Psychic witches with attitude SPELL identical-triplet trouble in spikes!”
In a nutshell this is the story of my Triplet Witch Trilogy:

SEX AND THE PSYCHIC WITCH, Harmony’s story, in stores now.
GONE WITH THE WITCH, Storm’s story, due in stores TODAY!
NEVER BEEN WITCHED, coming in February, 2009.

But Today’s blog is about Storm, the Goth rebel with attitude. Storm Cartwright grew up knowing she was the straw that broke the camel's back, that it was her arrival that sent their mother running from the hospital before their father ever came to pick them upl.

Each of the triplets has a psychic gift. Harmony sees the past. Destiny sees the future, but Storm sees the present. What good is that? Everybody sees the present, don't they?

Storm thinks so until Aiden McCloud arrives on the scene:

In his presence she hears a baby crying. Abducting him is the only way to follow the sound and find the child. Her scheme includes his luxury motor coach, seduction . . . and four pairs of fuzzy purple handcuffs.

Neither Aiden nor Storm knows who they really are and it takes a wacky road trip and discoveries of all sorts, including secrets, secrets, secrets, for Storm to spot the real Aiden inside the hermit wanderer, and for Aiden to peel away Storm’s tough outer layers to find the jewel hidden deep inside.

I had a blast writing their story. I fell in love with all of them. GONE WITH THE WITCH is like nothing I've ever written, and I can't wait to hear what you think of it.

So don’t forget: handcuffs and secrets, psychics and sex, the sound of crying babies, dragons and tabloids . . . a bad boy and a bad girl, and all the trouble they can get into.


ps: It’s already hit some bestseller lists!
Click below for:
An excerpt!

The Story of the story
"OMG, what a fantastically fun story! GONE WITH THE WITCH has it all; sensuously personable characters, breath-taking romance and a story line that is amusing and totally unique. Talented Annette Blair continues her triplet witch books with Storm’s story, my favorite of the triplets. GONE WITH THE WITCH, don’t you love that title, is a stand alone book but I bet you won’t be able to resist buying just this one book by Annette Blair; she is addictive! Sultry." Sensual & Erotic Ecataromance

"A spellbinding story that totally knocked my socks off! Once again I find myself in awe over the author's ability to make the characters so memorable...will leave you with a big smile on your face. Author Annette Blair writes priceless romance adventures." Detra Fitch, Huntress Reviews

"GONE WITH THE WITCH is sensual, close to being erotic...a touching emotional tale. I’ve read all the ‘witchy’ tales from Ms. Blair...I recommend them all for your reading pleasure." Carol Carter, Romance Reviews Today

"Great fun! Wonderful characters, a riveting storyline and a sensuous undercurrent...phenomenal... Storm is a hoot! She had me rolling in laughter through the entire story. She’s wild and carefree while Aiden has his own surefire beliefs about everything. The romance that blooms between these two...will have reader’s hearts melting. The adventure Aiden and Storm embark on to find this crying baby will have you riveted to the pages... Annette Blair always has fun with her witch characters...very evident in this story. If you’ve never read her before, please do! I guarantee you’ll be a die-hard fan in no time." ~Amanda Haffery, Romance Junkies

"Annette Blair’s second contribution to her Triplet trilogy should come with oven mitts as it is hot, hot, hot. The ending is just wonderful, with fantastic characters and a strong narrative. If the reader likes her romantic comedies just shy of being classified as erotica, this is definitely the book for you! Believe me when I say, this is one road trip you do not want to miss!" Betty Cox, Reader to Reader

"An emotionally charged story...GONE WITH THE WITCH starts out as somewhat light, bawdy, entertaining fun, which is what I thoroughly enjoy in all of Ms. Blair's books. She can be hysterically outrageous, and I can count on several laugh-out-loud moments. This story tugged at the heart as I was drawn into a tale of two people who've lived on the surface of life, afraid to seek greater depth to their existence for fear of being hurt yet again. Storm and Aiden are made for one another, and their discovery of this fact makes a truly satisfying story. This book is a definite addition to my keeper shelf." Paula Myers, Fresh Fiction

"Again there is plenty of magic and spell casting, as well as lots of hot, sexy situations. There are a number of familiar characters mentioned and some charming new ones, and both main characters develop wonderfully over the course of the story." Susan Mobley, Romantic Times

"Whimsical, witty, and wonderful,
Blair's Witches are a magical bunch that are sure to enchant readers everywhere."
~Madelyn Alt, Author of HEX MARKS THE SPOT

Don’t forget: First in the trilogy: SEX AND THE PSYCHIC WITCH, available now.




Haunted Bookshop Mystery #4: The Ghost and the Femme Fatale
(Alice Kimberly)
"...That booming, masculine voice in my head was either the ghost of P. I. Jack Shepard or a delusion of my half-demented mind. Which was true? Take your pick."

Such are the words of Penelope—single mom, bookstore owner, and star of my nationally best-selling paranormal series The Haunted Bookshop Mysteries. The Ghost and the Femme Fatale is the latest release with more titles on the way in 2009 and 2010.

There were A LOT of ideas and influences behind the opening of my haunted bookshop, starting with the classic "What if" game. "What would happen," I asked myself, "if a street-hardened detective like Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe found himself forced to coexist with a younger version of Agatha Christie's feisty amateur sleuth Miss Marple? And what if that hard-boiled private eye was (you guessed it) a ghost?"

At the start of my series, young widow Penelope McClure moves herself and her seven-year-old son back to her little Rhode Island hometown. Using her late husband's insurance money, Pen breathes new life back into her elderly aunt Sadie's nearly dead bookshop. As she remodels the store's interior, however, Pen brings something else back to life, as well: the spirit of Jack Shepard, a private investigator from New York City who was gunned down on the premises in the 1940s.

City-hardened Jack is less than thrilled to find his spirit marooned in some kind of backwater purgatory. Spending eternity in a bookstore in the godforsaken sticks was not the sort of afterlife he'd imagined. When he encounters auburn-haired Penelope, however, he's a little less cranky (Jack always was a sucker for a redhead). Then Pen gets mixed up in murder, and she realizes that the ghost of a professional P. I. is a pretty handy haunter—even if his off-color wisecracks and arrogant attitude are a real pain in the neck.

As fans of this series can tell you, a major inspiration for me in developing these paranormal mysteries was the novel The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. (As a tribute to Mrs. Muir's late author, Josephine Leslie, who wrote under the pen name R. A. Dick, I always quote a line from her novel at the beginning of my own books.)

Published in Britain in 1945, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir became a bestseller, and it's not hard to see why. This was right after World War II, when far too many women in their prime had become instant widows. Any new widow, still haunted by the memory of her young, vital husband, would have found a great deal of comfort in Josephine Leslie's novel, which tells the story of a young widow who finds companionship with the ghost of a virile sea captain. The tale is chockfull of metaphor and meaning, too—the ghost represents everything from hidden female desires and longings to the latent power of a woman's creativity. (Captain Gregg effectively becomes Mrs. Muir's muse, dictating his adventures as she writes them into a book.)

In my own stories, there are metaphors at work, as well. Sure, my bookshop is inhabited by a real ghost, but it's also haunted by something else: the power of one woman's imagination. Is Jack a real ghost? Or is he a very helpful part of Penelope's own repressed spirit? For me, Jack Shepard is very real indeed. Like Mrs. Muir's salty Captain Gregg, Jack even has his own personal journey: The big city private eye realizes that his purgatory of an afterlife isn't so terrible after all, because he's found a worthy woman to protect and cherish.

Yes, this is a love story as much as a story of haunting and mystery. And even though it features a dead man, it's very much a story about how to live because this is a love story for me, too—the love of a sixty-year-old book and movie (a love that I will continue to have until the day I die). And that's really the very best idea behind my Haunted Bookshop series: When you find a book to love, or a fantastic fictional character that inhabits its pages, you may end up being haunted (happily) for the rest of your days.

To learn more about my Haunted Bookshop Mysteries or the Coffeehouse Mysteries that I write under the pen name Cleo Coyle, visit the Haunted Bookshop page on my virtual coffeehouse website at: http://www.coffeehousemystery.com/ I also have a message board, a newsletter, and a monthly giveaway of free coffee to my newsletter subscribers. Cheers!
Alice Kimberly


Pelham Fell Here: A P.I. Gets a Little Help from His Friends

Pelham Fell Here is the first book in the P.I. Frank Johnson series (The Dirt-Brown Derby, The Blue Cheer, Troglodytes are the other titles). Pelham tells how Frank comes to decide to work as a private investigator. After Frank finds his cousin and best friend Cody Chapman murdered, he wants to get to the bottom of what happened. Easier said than done, Frank finds.

The further Frank digs into Cody’s life, the more betrayal and chaos he finds. Before long, Frank tangles with a cult of bad guys Cody knew who only understands the bloody way to settle any conflicts.

However, I quickly realized Frank couldn’t do it all as the lonewolf detective. He has to call on his friends for their assistance. Dreema Atkins who works at the Virginia Forensics lab offers her expertise on running the science on the clues Frank discovers. I wanted Frank to enjoy some romance, and Dreema fit that bill quite nicely.

Chet Peyton, fearless but young, helps Frank until reinforcements arrive on the scene to lend a hand. I knew Frank,outnumbered and outgunned, needed a loyal, impact partner to stand with him against such heavy odds. Enter Gerald, bounty hunter extraordinaire. Gerald is a force who levels the playing field for Frank to catch an even break in this murder case.

Law enforcement takes a dim view of Frank’s stirring up loud trouble and arrests him as Cody’s killer. Then I created the rich, smart, and larger-than-life defense attorney Bob Gatlin top lead Frank’s case in the courtroom. Gatlin also happens to also need a P.I. to do some investigative work for him, so Frank gains an employer as well as a lawyer in his corner.

I’m glad I gave Frank all his pals in Pelham Fell Here because it allowed me to create a more interesting mix. So, if you’d like to read a story about a P.I. with a lot of different friends, Frank’s tale in his hometown of Pelham should be just the one for you.


Cleo Coyle’s Brewing Up Murder and Banana Muffins (Recipe Included!)

My newest Coffeehouse Mystery, French Pressed, just hit every major mass market mystery bestseller list in the country: Borders, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Bookscan (yeah, baby!). If you haven’t yet met my heroine, Clare Cosi, single-mom, barista, and amateur sleuth, then allow me to introduce you...

Clare is the manager of the historic Village Blend coffeehouse in Greenwich Village , New York (where I live and work, too, which is how the idea for this series began). Clare’s daughter, Joy, is in culinary school nearby. Her ex-husband, Matt, is her shop’s globetrotting coffee buyer, and her love interest, Mike Quinn, is the NYPD homicide detective who craves Clare as much as her lattes. Together with a colorful group of younger baristas, Clare runs her shop and always finds herself running into mayhem and murder.

I'm a coffee geek, so I not only love to drink coffee, I love to talk about it with pros in the trade and research and sample exotic kinds from around the world. It's during my research into the coffee and culinary worlds that ideas for Coffeehouse Mystery stories often emerge. If you'd like to read more about French Pressed or the other books in my series, just go to my website, where all the books are described. In the meantime, here's the bonus muffin recipe form my latest newsletter. (FYI: All of my Coffeehouse Mysteries include recipes and coffee-making tips.)

Cleo Coyle's Banana-Walnut Muffins with Sweet Crunchy Tops

These easy-to-make muffins pair very well with my Coffee Pick of the Month: Kenya coffee. To read more about one of the world's finest coffees and the country it comes from, drop by the “virtual” coffeehouse at my website: http://www.coffeehousemystery.com/, where I discuss and give away my favorite coffee finds every month.

Makes 12 muffins

1-1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup oil
3 bananas (well ripened)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2-1/4 cups flour (sifted)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pans with paper liners. Dump into a bowl: the sugar, oil, 2 of the ripe bananas (just slice into bowl), eggs, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Beat the assembled ingredients with an electric mixer until smooth, about two minutes. Now add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda to batter. Mix with electric mixer until batter is smooth (don't over mix). Use a large spatula or spoon to fold in chopped nuts and the final ripe banana, which should be mashed up roughly with a fork before adding.

Fill your muffin tins with batter. You can either fill them 3/4 full OR you can fill them all the way to the top (that's what I do). Note, however, that I spray the tops of my muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray. That way, when my muffins bake over the top of my pan, giving me lovely big muffin tops, they won't stick to the top of the pan. Now let the muffin batter sit in the pan, allowing flavors to penetrate while you make the sweet, crunchy topping.

Sweet Crunchy Topping

4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons flour
*1 cup Brownulated light brown sugar (I use Domino Brownulated.)

Melt in a saucepan 4 tablespoons butter (I just use salted butter because that’s what I always have on hand). Stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, chopped walnuts, flour, and Brownulated light brown sugar. The crunchy topping will be lumpy and that's fine. Spoon topping over the muffin batter in your pans (see photo). Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 to 35 minutes. Ovens vary so make a note of what works for you. Bake until a knife inserted comes out clean. Enjoy!

(* NOTE: Do not substitute dark brown sugar in this recipe. The Brownulated sugar has less moisture and will give you the perfect crumbly texture, nice and light, letting the muffins rise.)

where coffee and crime are always brewing...

Sign up for my free newsletter (at my website) and you're automatically entered for my monthly free coffee drawings!

Cleo Coyle


Nicole Byrd Entices....

Writing Enticing the Earl was both a delight and a bit sad. Sad because it’s the final book in the Applegate Sisters/Sinclair Saga, and it would be the last glimpse at some very beloved characters. These books started several years ago with Lord Gabriel Sinclair and his family feud with his brother John, the marquis of Gillingham. They weren’t meant to become a series, but they offered too many possibilities and the characters were so strong, ideas just kept bubbling up. So the stories kept spinning, most recently with Gabriel’s half sisters, the five Applegate siblings, as irrepressible and unpredictable a set of young ladies as any handsome young man would care to meet. The family secret Gabriel had been searching for was finally revealed in the first Applegate Sisters book, Seducing Sir Oliver.

Their adventures have taken the sisters into a second-rate London theater, up a tree to avoid escaped African cats, on the run from a half-crazed assassin, and most important, into the arms of a wonderful series of beguiling and sexy heros. So I couldn’t wait to see what would befall the final Applegate sister, the middle child, Lauryn, now a young widow, who’d always been proper and sweet, taking care of her extended family and doing all that was proper. Until now.

When her grief-stricken father-in-law gambles away his estate and all his valuables, Lauryn Applegate sees only one daring step to take--offer herself as courtesan to the winner, the handsome and notorious earl of Sutton. She can retrieve the land, and, in the–ah–process, she can trample on every rule. This good girl is ready to be bad!

Read an excerpt at my website, http://www.nicolebyrd.com/ Hope you enjoy her adventures–

Enticing the Earl
Berkley, April '08