Tuesday, December 16, 2014


“Fruitcake Gets Bum Rap”-a quirky individual who gets shuttled off to jail on an imaginary charge.
No, not that kind of fruitcake. I would never use such a politically incorrect term to define someone who might resemble my Great-aunt Minerva who made pies out of leftover jams and jellies.

I’m referring to the type of cake made from candied fruits and nuts that some insist on baking or buying to give as Christmas gifts. You’ve heard Jay Leno make fun of a family tradition of giving this cake, where one recipient says, “Why, thank yew sooo much! I just love fruitcake.” Then that person proceeds to wrap it anew and gives it to someone else. The same cake is passed around for years—and never deteriorates!

I, for one, really, really do love fruitcake. Admittedly, some are better than others, but even the cheap ones that come in a decorative tin and sold in your local discount store have something to offer. At Christmas parties, someone always contributes a plate of dark sliced fruitcake, perhaps a little dry, forlorn, skipped over by guests as they select a tidbit here, a morsel there. Me? I’ll take a piece of the cake every time.

My mother made an excellent fruit cake back in the fifties and sixties. She did use the common candied cherries and pineapple, sometimes dyed green, raisins, and lots of good old Texas pecans. She would buy a big sack of pecans as early as she could in the fall, and Daddy cracked every one and picked out the nutmeats. Fresh pecans make a big difference. Since we were teetotalers at home, Mother would tell Daddy to buy a bottle of whiskey—she said whiskey, but probably meant bourbon—when he next had to work over the state line in New Mexico. Most of the South Plains counties were “dry.” After soaking the 10-inch-tube-pan cake two weeks in the alcoholic beverage, let me tell you, that was a good fruitcake. I especially enjoyed it for breakfast with a hot cup of black coffee.

Years later, I found my own recipe for fruitcake. I’d like to share it with you.

3 cups chopped Texas pecans

1 ½ cups halved maraschino cherries

1 cup dark raisins- ½ cup light raisins

¾ cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup white sugar

½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

3 eggs

2 Tbs. apricot brandy

 ½ cup apricot brandy and cheesecloth

 Combine nuts and fruits. Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add to nut mixture, tossing to coat well. Beat eggs till frothy; add the 2 Tbs. brandy. Pour egg mixture over fruit mixture; mix well. Pour batter into greased and floured 9 x 5 x 3 loaf dish or pan. Bake in 300 degree oven 1 hour and 45 minutes. (If you use a dark pan, perhaps lower the temperature a few degrees or test for doneness a few minutes early.)

When the cake cools, wrap in clean cheese-cloth. Dribble apricot Brandy over all sides until soaked. Wrap in aluminum foil. You may add more brandy later, if you wish. Store the cake at least week.

Here is the link to a page of Free Reads on Publishing By Rebecca J. Vickery.
 Please click on the link below the cover for MERRY CHRISTMAS, VICTORIA.
This is a 1500 word Free short story.

If you are looking for a Western Romance Short, this is my newest release from PBRJV--KATHLEEN--TRINITY HILL BRIDES-Book I. I am so pleased with the book and how well it is selling. I love the cover Karen Michelle Nutt made for this short novel.

KATHLEEN-Trinity Hill Brides-Book I


 Barnes and Noble


Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas



Thursday, December 11, 2014

Meet Author Vicki Crum

My name is Vicki Crum, and I live near the ocean in Southern California with my husband of 39 years. We have two grown daughters and two beautiful grandchildren who are the absolute center of our lives. When not spending quality time with my family, you can most often find me indulging my love for reading and writing. 

I write contemporary romance, and over the years have tried my hand at several sub-genres, from romantic suspense to women’s fiction, eventually dipping my toe into paranormal romance. My first published novel, Loving Luc, is a contemporary romance with futuristic elements, and I’m very excited to be sharing it with the world!

When I first started writing, in the late 1990’s, I joined Romance Writers of America, Orange County Chapter, and my association with that wonderful organization opened up a whole new world for me. I’ve attended conferences around the country, met tons of fabulous writers, many who were on my personal “must read” author list long before I embarked on my own writing odyssey. Some of these authors have become close friends and even mentors over the years. I like to think I’ve grown as a person as well as a writer, and it’s been a wonderful journey. As for my own personal preferences, I read across many genres and I don’t like to pigeonhole myself as a writer because I think it keeps my writing fresh to write in more than one romance genre. Though I’m concentrating on paranormal now, I tend to let my characters dictate to me where they want to go—and how they want to get there!

When I’m not writing, my husband and I like to spend as much time with our five-year-old granddaughter and our eighteen-month-old grandson as possible. My daughters and I are very good friends, and we can kill an entire day just shopping and getting our toes done! 
The very best times are when the whole family is together, especially at our favorite condo in Maui. I also like to dabble in a little home decorating from time to time, and I enjoy traveling to different places around the world. This month my husband and I are going on a seven-day cruise on the Danube River, from Budapest to Passau, Germany. 
Christmas Markets here I come!

Jimmy Thomas-Model for RNC as Luc
Of all my fictional works, I think Loving Luc is my favorite. Luc, to me, is the epitome of the ideal mate, kind, passionate, intelligent, vulnerable yet strong and brave, and he certainly isn’t hard on the eyes! I especially love the air of mystery that surrounds him, and
how it continues to confound Maggie until he finally reveals the stunning truth about his identity. Luc is the embodiment of what I think of as the ultimate romantic hero, and I think Maggie is the perfect match for him.

The most important thing I’ve learned on my journey to publication is that if you want to succeed, you must never, ever give up. Writing, like everything else, has its extreme highs and lows. When everything is going well, when you’re in the “zone”, so to speak, and typing along like crazy, it’s euphoric. When the story isn’t working for you, and you just can’t figure out where to go to get back on track, it can be a miserable undertaking. There have been so many times, especially since my grandkids have come along, when I considered giving up on my writing and my dream of being published. I have to thank my critique group, which includes Mandy Baker and Hilda Lassalette, for keeping me going when the enthusiasm just wasn’t there.

One of my favorite inspirational quotes, though sadly I can’t remember who said it, goes something like this, “I can’t imagine how many truly great writers the world will never know because they simply gave up and went away.” I think every writer has their own instinctive reasons for doing what they do. For me, I try to remember to “write for the sheer joy of it”, because in the end, it’s the only thing that really matters.

My current project is my first foray into the werewolf world. Once in a Blue Moon: Casey Montgomery’s dangerous addiction to bad boys has brought her nothing but heartache. Just as she swears them off forever in favor of the nerdy type, she meets a Harley-driving hunk that blows her socks off. Jake Benedict is a were who knows another when he sees one, even if Casey has no idea of her real heritage. Sparks fly first in the bedroom, and then again as Jake reveals to Casey her true nature.

When I finish with Casey and Jake’s story, I’d like to work on a possible sequel to Loving Luc because I’ve had several friends and readers ask me if there’s going to be one. And what writer doesn’t like to spend more time with characters they love?

I wish I had the patience to carefully outline my story ideas before beginning to write, but I’m afraid I’m much too eager to jump right in. All I usually know when I start a book is the beginning, the end, and a few of the major plot points. And of course, my characters. My stories are much more character driven than plot driven. In fact, half of the time I really have to dig deep to construct a plot I feel is worthy of my characters. They always come alive first in my mind, and the full scope of their journey develops as I go. And I’ve always written in a quiet room with no distractions. I wish I could listen to music while I write, and I’m determined to experiment with it, see what I can learn to do if I try. I’m often inspired by certain songs and music, but then I turn them off and go into my office to write. And I can’t function in a lot of clutter, or write when I feel like I’ve left something important undone. 
I’ll admit, I’m a little OCD! 

You may find Ms. Crum at these locations:

When Maggie’s husband dies a few months after their wedding, guilt quickly overshadows her grief. She wanted out of her disastrous marriage, but not like this. Then an intriguing stranger shows up, forcing Maggie to question what she believes. Her powerful attraction to Luc pulls her deep into a web of lies and deceit, but the truth will change her life in ways she never could have imagined.

Ebook Christmas Special: 99 cents thru Dec 31
Ebook reg price: $3.99
Print: $10.95