We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving where I live. But as things wind down in these final months, I take as many opportunities as I can to think about the things I’m thankful for.
It’s been a strange couple of years. I’ve lost loved ones, picked up new sports injuries, had to give up things that meant the world to me. My mental health has been not amazing. And my dad’s health is, well, starting its slow and unpredictable decline.
But for all the bad stuff, there’s been a heap of good stuff—big and small—balancing the scales. Strange as it sounds, sometimes the bad helped me see and appreciate the good. Sometimes, the bad forced me to make good.
Today, I’m thinking about how important it is to have kind, patient and supportive people in our lives. The kinds of people who, even just watching them from a distance, seeing how they operate, can inspire us. Good people give us the courage to say goodbye to old acquaintances, old habits, old patterns of thinking that hold us back, make us bitter.
And it’s so easy to become bitter. Especially when the bad stuff plays on repeat. Like if our jobs suck, or so-called besties betray us, or the people we care about take us for granted. If it goes on long enough, we come to wear our bitterness like armour.
Spoiler alert: it’s not very good armour. It doesn’t keep the badness out completely, and it prevents a lot of good from getting through.
I’m thankful for the good people in my life today. People whose goodness got through and gave me the confidence to shed that hard outer layer. I’ve been fortunate enough to make some great friends, online and off. Their compassion and encouragement pulled me out of many rotten places.
Sometimes we’re lucky enough to stumble upon people like that. Sometimes they even find us. The rest of the time, it comes down to choices. Who in our lives are we choosing to be friends with? Are they the kind of friend who love us enough to want to see us love ourselves? Do they support us, help us, care for us? Are they the kind of friend we’re thankful for?
And, most importantly… can we be that kind of friend back to them?
Well, then. It’s still six weeks to the end of 2019, but I think I’ve just chosen my new year’s resolution.
On the friendships in It Starts With A Kiss
When I started drafting It Starts With A Kiss, I wanted to capture friendship alongside the romance. Not just the friendship between the couple, but the love and support between everyone on Halcyon Aries. Celeste would have never found it in herself to do what she did, if not for the contribution of everyone in the team (yes, even Eleanor). It’s the friends we keep who influence us to be who we are, whether we’re here on Earth or out in space.
It Starts With A Kiss
Science Fiction ~ Erotica
Celeste is a talented engineer who doesn’t realize her job’s going nowhere fast. She’s a little naïve. She’ll cut code and solder cables forever as long as Owen’s around. Owen, on the other hand, knows exactly how badly things suck—he just doesn’t care. Sure, his skills aren’t what they used to be, but they’re still better than what Halcyon Aries deserves.
Then it happens. The company’s toxic management team finally cross the line. As both techies race to upgrade the station and to free the team from their oppressive contracts, they come to learn that life—and love—can only ever be what you make it.
Strap in for a steamy office romance in space, because sometimes It Starts With a Kiss!
More About JL
JL Peridot likes stories with a little danger, and only realised in her 30s that falling in love may be the most dangerous thing we do. She performs the duties of a writer from her home in sunny Australia, where she writes erotic romance and sometimes just erotica.
Good morning! I’m here to talk to you about the much-maligned fruitcake. I know, I know, many of you dislike it intensely. (I think there is even a fruitcake launching event.) But I love it. Actually, I love all cake.
Most of us think of fruitcake as the kind with the citron, candied cherries, nuts, and other goodies in a doughy goo. I have a different one to share--Grandmother’s Cake.
Grandmother picked up this recipe during the war (that’s the family story, and hey, I’m not messing with it). Ever since I can remember, my grandmother would bake her cake for Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Her version is like a spice cake with nuts. Because of a special ingredient (listed in the recipe), the cake has a reddish-brown hue.
Now, I am about to share the alarming part: this cake is really known as Tomato Cake. What??!! Why??!! It’s all because of the secret ingredient, tomato soup.
Still freaked out? Please don’t dismiss this goodie. It DOES NOT taste like soup. Haven’t you had cakes with soda or mayonnaise in it? Do these sound weird?
Here’s the recipe from my mom’s recipe file:
My sister puts a lovely cream cheese frosting on hers and adds pineapple. Last time, she made mini-muffins.
Honestly? Delicious. I challenge you to give it a try and see what everyone thinks (email me: email@example.com).
Okay, I freaked you out about Tomato Cake/Grandmother’s Cake. If you still doubt me, here’s the link to check:
I have another fruitcake treat to share. I call these:
Cut your fruitcake (the kind from the store is perfectly fine) into cubes.
Using melting chocolate (like Wilton’s candy melts), follow the directions on the package and melt. Set the cake on cooling racks and drizzle or drip or dunk in the chocolate. Voila! Fruitcake Bites. Store in an airtight container.
People think they are eating candy. LOLOL.
Do I make these treats every year? No. Not really. Some years, Handsome and I have a quiet Thanksgiving. What I do like to make is Cranberry Crunch. It’s easy and even good for breakfast:
Didn’t I say easy peasy? I tend to substitute butter for margarine and whipped cream for the ice cream, especially when serving for breakfast or during the holidays.
Okay! You are off to a good start now. How about your feet are tired, your back is aching, and you need a rest? Try:
Hopes and wishes and holiday kisses...Sommerville holidays
Find your holiday every after...
Holiday Disaster: Days before Christmas, a librarian experiences plumbing issues and visits from Mr. Maintenance Man, who isn’t nearly as jolly as Santa Claus.
The Littlest Angel: Two people. One ornament for the tree. Can a twosome find common ground and discover the true meaning of Christmas?
Holiday Handbag Extravaganza: Christmas Countdown is on! A hunk-a-licious customer pesters a boutique owner to locate a vintage handbag for his mother. Too bad the wedge between them is his sister, the meanest girl in town.
More about Vicki
Vicki Batman has sold many romantic comedy works to magazines, several publishers, and, most recently, three romantic comedy mysteries. Along the way, she has picked up some awards and bestsellers. Avid Jazzerciser. Handbag lover. Mahjong player. Yoga practitioner. Movie fan. Book devourer. Chocaholic. Best Mom ever. And adores Handsome Hubby. Most days begin with her hands set to the keyboard and thinking, "What if??"
Thank you for being with me today! May all your days be Merry and Bright!!
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Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/author/vickibatman/
I love food, especially comfort food. Can you relate? J Fall is a great time for comfort foods like soups and stews, baked goods, all kinds of potatoes and pastas and savory dishes served with rice, fresh bread, and the like. But I don’t just like eating food, I enjoy cooking it, and writing it into my sweet, cozy books. Each of my books features home cooking or teas and coffees, or comfort meals at a local diner, or a potluck at someone’s home. Not all my characters like to cook, though. Two of those types are the hero, Beast, and heroine, Eva, in Two Together, a sweet contemporary romance that’s a take on Beauty and the Beast. Mrs. Kettle, Beast’s housekeeper, does most of the cooking, and this is one of her recipes, a smooth and creamy butternut squash soup (If you’re vegan, try this recipe instead). A light meal, Eva and Beast eat some for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning while they wait out a storm, and danger, at his Sierra mountain house. Like Beast and Eva, enjoy this soup anytime on a chilly day!
Mrs. Kettle’s Butternut Squash Soup
2 medium butternut squash, halved and deseeded
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 large shallots (or use 1 Tablespoon dried minced onion), peeled and diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried sage leaves
salt and pepper
4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth for a vegetarian version)
1 cup water
½ cup cream
What’s your favorite comfort food?