LADY OF FIRE ~ NOW AVAILABLE!

LADY OF FIRE hits online shelves at Amazon, iBooks Store, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo Books:

DANGEROUS ~ Believing only death will prevent him from returning to England, Sir Lucien de Gautier answers his king’s call to arms. When he is captured and his family refuses the ransom demand, he finds himself bound to the oars of a galley. Enraged and embittered, he has no hope of escape—until a rich merchant’s wife offers him freedom. In exchange, he agrees to smuggle a virtuous young woman out of a harem and onto a ship bound for England, unaware the real danger lies in the bond forged between him and his fiery charge. But when he learns she is as much his enemy as those who enslaved him, can he forgive her? More, can he forget her?

IMPETUOUS ~ Determined to wed her childhood friend, a betrothal her English mother will go to any length to break, Alessandra refuses to abandon the only life she has known in Algiers—even if it means compromising her faith. But when she is entrusted to a new bodyguard whose scarred face and soul draw her to him, she soon discovers the bold Englishman is only playing a part, biding his time until he can fulfill his end of a treacherous bargain. Desperate to turn him from his course, she reveals her identity, but only succeeds in gaining his contempt. Now that he knows the truth, will he ever feel for her all she feels for him? And will it be enough for her to forsake her world to live in his?

Note: LADY OF FIRE is a “clean read” rewrite of Tamara Leigh’s 1995 Bantam Books bestseller, PAGAN BRIDE. Unlike LADY AT ARMS and LADY OF EVE, it is a standalone novel.

To read an excerpt, visit: www.tamaraleigh.com

BLACKBERRY AND RED WINE GELATIN

Gelatin is not among my weaknesses, but blackberries…oh my. And an occasional glass of red wine…quite nice. Here, I combined the two for a beautiful, elegant, and delicious side dish that was all the dessert anyone could want. But that’s just my opinion 🙂

Blackberry and Red Wine Gelatin

1 cup sweet red wine

2/3 cup granulated white sugar

12 oz fresh blackberries, divided (frozen work well too, but thaw first)

1 cup water

2 envelopes Knox unflavored Gelatine

1) To a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat, add wine and sugar; stirring continuously to dissolve sugar, bring to a boil; reduce heat to low, add 8 oz blackberries (reserving 4 oz for garnish), and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally

2) Meanwhile, add water to large bowl, sprinkle gelatin over surface; let sit 5 minutes

3) Slowly stir blackberry-wine mixture into gelatin mixture, then pour into a loaf pan; cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate 3-4 hours until set

4) To more easily unmold gelatin, set loaf pan in a shallow pan of hot water a few seconds to loosen gelatin from bottom and sides, then invert pan onto serving plate; garnish gelatin with reserved blackberries and serve immediately

Yum!

Servings: 6-8

Another Round Of Edits (AROE): Rewriting PAGAN BRIDE into LADY OF FIRE

I should clarify that these rounds of edits are to Lady Of Fire’s first draft v. prepublication draft. For those who want a glimpse of the true extent of rewriting Pagan Bride into Lady Of Fire, the following Chapter One excerpt, directly comparing my 1995 Bantam book to the 2014 re-release, gives an idea of what it takes to transform a “general market” novel into a “clean read.” It’s not simply a matter of removing love scenes and slapping a new cover on the book. It’s all about incorporating writing experience, in my case, 20 years’ worth. And that’s no easy feat, each rewrite requiring 2-3 intensive months. So, here’s how you splash enough red on a manuscript to make it look like a crime scene:

Lady Of Fire

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LADY OF FIRE Excerpt: http://www.tamaraleigh.com

AMAZING BREAKFAST PIZZA

According to Junior and Junior Too, I’ve finally mastered the pizza (yeast tends to stump me). However, Junior Too advised me to stick to pizzas like this one and my taco pizza and leave traditional pepperoni and supreme pizzas to pizza joints, Freschetta, and Digiorno. Sniff…some habits are just hard to break.

PIZZA DOUGH (or you can buy pre-made):

1 cup warm water

1-1/2 tsp yeast

2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp sea salt

3 tbsp olive oil + 2 tsp olive oil (divided)

PIZZA:

1 cup mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup parmesan-romano-asiago cheese blend

1 cup chopped grape tomatoes

5 slices turkey bacon, fried to slightly crisp and chopped

1 green onion, sliced thin

6 eggs

1 tsp minced fresh parsley

Optional: tabasco or other hot sauce

1) PIZZA DOUGH: Add warm water and yeast to small bowl, stir gently, and let sit 10 minutes

2) To large bowl, add flour, salt, and 3 tbsp olive oil; stir to combine; pour in water-yeast mixture and stir well to combine; turn dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rise 1 hour

3) Preheat oven to 475 degrees

4) Lightly oil large pizza pan with 1 tsp olive oil; on floured surface, roll out dough to fit pan; transfer dough to pan; brush surface of dough with remaining 1 tsp olive oil

5) Sprinkle mozzarella and parmesan-romano-asiago cheese over dough, followed by tomatoes, bacon, and green onion

6) Crack 6 eggs on pizza and sprinkle with fresh parsley; bake in oven 10-12 minutes and serve

Servings: 4 (but don’t be too hungry)

Another Round Of Edits (AROE): Chapter Eleven ~ LADY OF FIRE

Bears repeating: If your writing is to hit the right note, allowing a reader to immerse herself in the story such that she develops the oh-so-lovely habit of giving in to just one more chapter, love on your edits. Embrace them. Feed them well. Give them plenty of exercise. And make sure they get good rest.

Lady Of Fire

On to Chapter Eleven! The following is from the first round of edits to my rough draft of LADY OF FIRE (Releasing November 25, 2014). P/S: If you have a question about an edit, I’ll do my best to answer it. But as a mostly intuitive writer, I don’t always know why I do what I do 🙂

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LADY OF FIRE Excerpt: http://www.tamaraleigh.com

CHINESE HOT AND SOUR SOUP

Junior’s favorite soup is P.F. Chang’s Hot and Sour and, goodness knows, I’ve tried to duplicate it. Though I haven’t yet succeeded, years ago I hit on a version that made Junior name this recipe his second favorite soup. Though it should serve 6-8 dinner-sized portions, in our house of four it’s often wiped out in one sitting. An added bonus is that it’s pretty easy to make.

8 cups chicken broth

3/4 cup soy sauce

3/4 cup rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp chili sauce (or 1 tbsp if you want to tone down the “hot”)

1 tbsp sesame seed oil

1/2 tbsp ground white pepper

1 can bamboo shoots, drained and coarsely chopped

1-1/2 cups bean sprouts (I prefer fresh, but when not available, canned is pretty good)

6 oz mushrooms, chopped

2 cups chopped deli-roasted chicken

1-16 oz pkg firm tofu, drained and cubed

4 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 cup water

2 eggs, beaten

3 green onions, sliced thin

1-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1) To large soup pot over medium-high heat, add: broth, soy sauce, vinegar, chili sauce, sesame seed oil, and white pepper; stir to combine and bring to a boil

2) Lower heat to medium and add: bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, mushrooms, chicken, and tofu; cook 10 minutes

3) Stir in cornstarch dissolved in water; cook 10 minutes

4) While gently stirring soup in a circular motion, slowly pour in beaten egg; cook 5 minutes

5) Scatter green onions and red pepper flakes over soup; remove from heat, serve, and slurp!

Serves: 6-8 dinner-sized portions

Another Round Of Edits (AROE): Chapter Ten ~ LADY OF FIRE

Lady Of Fire

Bears repeating: If your writing is to hit the right note, allowing a reader to immerse herself in the story such that she develops the oh-so-lovely habit of giving in to just one more chapter, love on your edits. Embrace them. Feed them well. Give them plenty of exercise. And make sure they get good rest.

Now for Chapter Ten! The following is from the first round of edits to my rough draft of LADY OF FIRE (Releasing November 25, 2014). P/S: If you have a question about an edit, I’ll do my best to answer it. But as a mostly intuitive writer, I don’t always know why I do what I do 🙂

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LADY OF FIRE Excerpt: http://www.tamaraleigh.com

CREAM CHEESE BLACK BEAN DIP

This dip has been a favorite in our home for years, so the recipe card bears the marks of having been consulted often. The dip can be made with or without black beans, but the added texture of those little guys is worth one more time around with the can opener. Enjoy!

1-8 oz pkg reduced fat cream cheese, softened

8 oz sour cream

8 oz salsa (I use medium heat)

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, divided

1 tbsp diced jalapenos

3 tbsp taco seasoning

1 can reduced fat refried beans

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

Tortilla chips (Tostitos “Hint of Lime” is our chip of choice)

Optional toppings: sour cream, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, avocado, parsley or cilantro, sliced jalapenos

1) To large, microwave-safe bowl, add: cream cheese, sour cream, salsa, cheese, jalapenos, and taco seasoning; stir well to combine; add refried beans and black beans; stir well

2) Microwave dip on high 5-7 minutes until heated through (pause and stir every couple of minutes); remove from microwave, add your favorite toppings, and serve with tortilla chips

Serves: 4-6 as dinner

Serves: 12-16 as appetizer

EVOLUTION OF A COVER ~ STEALING ADDA (Re-release)

Ready for another episode of Evolution Of A Cover? This time, it’s for the re-release of my first inspirational romance, STEALING ADDA, billed as “chick lit” when it landed in bookstores in 2006. Why “chick lit” as opposed to my earlier Bantam and HarperCollins medieval romances? I was told medieval romance didn’t sell well in the inspirational market, and I would have to give publishers “something different.” How different can you get, hmm? So, here’s the original cover. Cute.

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In 2012, after the rights to Stealing Adda were returned to me, I re-released the book with a new cover. Cuter.

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Then…this year the rights to the rest of my “chick lits” were returned to me. And you know what that calls for, don’t you? New covers all around! Though the first four of my seven “chick lits” are stand alones, I decided to tie them together under the “Head Over Heels” series title—a nod to the lovely combination of romance and high heels with a big city feel. Let’s start with the stock photo my wonderful cover designer discovered, then it’s time to get to work—Adda has dark hair, and as for that revealing skirt… Need to do something about that. It’s the heels we’re focusing on, right?

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First mock up ~ Adore, adore the cut paper background and the partial face. I’d like to see the book title pop with more color, and the tagline reduced to fit the white space. Though I like the author name font, I think we should stick with the font used on my medieval romances. And let’s find a place for the “Head Over Heels” series title.

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Second Mock Up ~ The book title certainly pops in pink, but I’m thinking the color of those gorgeous heels would be better. Love the series title treatment, though it is a bit crowded. Let me think on that. Oh, I just stumbled on a Facebook discussion about partial face covers. Apparently, readers are either tired of them or never liked them at all, so let’s see more of Adda’s face. And we definitely need to pull that skirt of hers forward.

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Third Mock Up ~ Thumbs up on the orange font , skirt, and seeing more of Adda’s face. What do you think about changing the series title to a gradient of the blue background so it doesn’t look so crowded? And before I forget, Adda’s more into her nails than eye makeup. Can we tone down the makeup?

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Fourth Mock Up ~ The series title looks fabulous, her eye makeup is perfect, and I like the lighter orange font. Good call! We’re close but…um…it was suggested the cover would be more eye-catching if the heels were pink. Can I see how that looks, my dear, incredibly patient cover designer?

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Fifth Mock Up ~ The pink is more eye-catching, but I think orange is the better choice. There’s just something about the way it contrasts with the blue.

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The Final ~ Here she is. The new STEALING ADDA. Have I mentioned how talented my cover designer is? Coming soon: the new Perfecting Kate, Splitting Harriet, and Faking Grace. Exciting times!

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Website: www.tamaraleigh.com

 

THE REDEEMING Audiobook Now Available!

I’m pleased to announce THE REDEEMING joins THE UNVEILING, THE YIELDING, DREAMSPELL, and LADY AT ARMS in audiobook format, all narrated by the beautifully talented Mary Sarah Agliotta. And coming soon: THE KINDLING!

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Preview a sample of THE REDEEMING at: Audible.com, Amazon.com, iBooks Store

yielding_audible

Preview a sample of THE YIELDING at: Audible.com, Amazon.com, iBooks Store

unveiling_audible

Preview a sample of  THE UNVEILING at: Audible.com, Amazon.com, iBooks Store

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Preview a sample of DREAMSPELL at: Audible.com, Amazon.com, iBooks Store

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Preview a sample of LADY AT ARMS at: Audible.com, Amazon.com, iBooks Store