Stacy Juba's TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO TODAY now on #Audiobook




I invited Stacy Juba here today to talk about TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO TODAY, a suspense filled novel now available in audiobook.  Stacy told me how the idea for this best-selling e-book was born!

"I wrote TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO TODAY because just like my protagonist Kris Langley, I once worked as an obit writer and editorial assistant for a daily newspaper.  One of my tasks was researching the 25 and 50 Years Ago Today column.  A couple of times per week, I would sit down at the microfilm machine and hunt through the old issues for tidbits to compile into the column.  The news items needed to be both noteworthy and positive so they would give readers a feeling of nostalgia.  Although it was interesting to read through the back issues, it was one of my least favorite tasks as the scrolling of the microfilm was hard on the eyes.  I was also a big mystery reader and one day, I got an idea for a novel.  What if an editorial assistant stumbled across a 25 year old cold case while researching her 25Years Ago Today column?  What if she became obsessed with the case and started getting involved with the victim's family?  What if she fell in love with the victim's nephew?  Because of my own experience with the microfilm and working in a newsroom, I knew I could make the details authentic.  And that was how TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO TODAY was born.  I never imagined that it would one day be an audiobook, and hearing Erin Moon bring the characters to life was a special treat."

More about Stacy's book TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO TODAY!

For twenty-five years, Diana Ferguson's killer has gotten away with murder.  When rookie obit writer and newsroom editorial assistant Kris Langley investigates the cold case of the artistic young cocktail waitress who was obsessed with Greek and Roman mythology, not only does she fall in love with Diana's sexy nephew, but she must also fight to stay off the obituary page herself.  The book edition has made GalleyCat's Mystery and Thriller Bestseller List and GalleyCat's Barnes and Noble Bestsellers.  The audiobook is narrated by Erin Moon and produced by Brick Shop Audio.


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Coffee With A #Canine? by Karen Rose Smith--The dogs in my life


When I was asked to do a blog--COFFEE WITH A CANINE, I wasn't sure what to expect!  But this was a fun project.  Blogger Marshal Zeringue asked for photos of the dogs in my life.  Usually I don't post candid shots--they can end up all over the internet--but for this blog I supplied a few.  Including one of me at four with my dad and our Cocker Spaniel, Buffer.  When I look at that picture, childhood memories return because I lived there with my parents, aunt and grandfather until I was five.  And a little known fact--my childhood home is my sleuth's childhood home in my December release STAGED TO DEATH.  From the floor plan to the red tiled roof.

I hope you enjoy this different look at me and the dogs in my life!

COFFEE WITH A CANINE


Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!
Best,
Karen

©2013 Karen Rose Smith





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A #Wolf Love Story by Karen Rose Smith, Speedwell Forge Wolf #Sanctuary





When I took a private tour of the Speedwell Forge Wolf Sanctuary with my husband, I could soak in a better sense of day to day life there without all the humans around.  I'm an open spaces and nature kind of girl and have to admit I sometimes prefer animal company to human company.  Chuck Rineer, a volunteer at the wolf sanctuary for about seven years and a wildlife photographer, was our guide.  It was easy to see that he understands these animals. 

One of the packs we visited consisted of two wolves--Destiny and Chipper.  Their story tugged at my heart.
Chipper
Destiny is a beautiful wolf (in my opinion).  She lived in a retirement community with two wolves who passed on.  She was sad and depressed there so she was brought to Speedwell and introduced to another orphan, a hybrid (part dog, part wolf) named Chipper.  When they became friends, Destiny, who had let herself go--her hair was matted and she had no verve for life--perked up!  Not only did she perk up, but she and Chipper became friends...and then mates.

Destiny

Chipper, mourning his losses, was lonely too.  But once he and Destiny were together, he became full of life and wolf energy again.

The day we were there, however, Chipper's belly was full and he was napping!  Chuck told us that Chipper likes the human activity around and it was easy to see we didn't bother him in the least!  Our being there didn't interrupt his nap at all.  And...Destiny was close by, relaxing herself.

In the wolf kingdom, this is romance.  Mates for life.

Karen's Adopt A Wolf blog

Karen's Visiting Speedwell Wolf Sanctuary Blog










©2013 Karen Rose Smith


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#Goodreads #Giveaway for The Bracelet by Karen Rose Smith


Good news for readers!

I'm having a Goodreads Giveaway from November 23 to November 25 for a new edition of THE BRACELET.  This is a rare Direct To Consumer edition and I'm giving away two of them.  This book is one that's closest to my heart.  My hero, Brady is a Vietnam war veteran.  My heroine, Laura, was a flower child.  They fell in love, were torn apart and many year later still must to figure out how the past is impacting their present, including Brady's relationship with his son.  This is a novel about family, loyalty and finding happily-ever after when it seems lost.

I do giveaways regularly for my Readers Group on Facebook.  I'm always glad to add new members.  "Like" my author page and let me know you'd like to join.

 Karen's Facebook Author page

Good luck in the giveaway!

Goodreads Giveaway THE BRACELET by KAREN ROSE SMITH



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©2013 Karen Rose Smith



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Visiting Speedwell #Wolf Sanctuary in #Pennsylvania by Karen Rose Smith





My first visit to the Speedwell Forge Wolf Sanctuary in Lititz, Pennsylvania included the full moon tour.  There was a bonfire burning bright that couldn't be drowned by splurts of rain.  We were able to visit several packs of wolves with a guide stationed at each pack.  I became fascinated with these magnificent creatures and definitely wanted to return in daylight to spend more time in their presence.  I also had a lot of questions about the wolves.



My husband and I arranged for a private tour recently.  The entrance and gate let you know that this isn't an ordinary place.  We drove on a gravel road.  A volunteer let us through the gate.  We passed the bed and breakfast, and took a winding road to a spot where we could park.  A general tour was just finishing.  After letting the volunteers know we were there, we discovered our guide would be wildlife photographer Chuck Rineer.  Who better to tell us about these mysterious animals!  We began with the timber wolves, a subspecies of the gray wolf.  Wolves live in families with a pair and offspring.  Their group is called a pack.  In Speedwell, there are some packs made up of a genetic family, but other packs where lone wolves have formed bonds to create a pack.  This first pack was a family--Merlin, Tioga and Keisha.  All of the packs have a history and I hope to go into that in future blogs.

Merlin, Keisha, Tioga
Tioga


















There are about 30 wolves on the property.  Tioga is the only one Chuck can hand feed and "pet."  He does enter the fenced-in areas to feed the wolves.  I asked if he's ever afraid that they'll harm him.  He answered that he's not, because humans are the wolves only predators, so they're not likely to attack.  On the other hand, they are still wild animals and only tolerate humans because they feed them.  Speedwell Forge is a non-profit sanctuary kept going by donations and dedicated volunteers.  Chuck has been working with and photographing the wolves for about seven years.

Merlin, Tioga and Keisha are a family.  Merlin is the dad, Tioga is the son. Keisha and Tioga's mom were sisters.  There is a rivalry for attention between the alpha wolf Merlin and his son Tioga.  Being the alpha means first stab at the food which can range from deer that hunters donate to chicken legs to ground meat.

Chuck told us story about how Keisha had dug a deep den when she went into heat (the males are neutered but the females are not spayed).  Tioga decided to inspect it and rearrange it a bit.  Keisha was not happy.  Tioga had gone to a pool of water to cool off, but she managed to pull at his tail to register her disapproval.  While watching these timber wolves, I forgot to snap many pictures because I was so caught up in their body language and antics, as well as the information Chuck gave us.

We learned wolves, in appropriately good weather conditions, can smell up to 1.75 miles.  They can hear about six miles away in the forest and up to ten in open country.  They can see some color and about as well as humans...85 to 100 yards.  All of their senses are acute to aid in their survival. They are fascinating to watch in their packs.

Watch for my next blog about another pack that consists of Destiny and Chipper.


Destiny




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#Pies for Thanksgiving, Pecan and Peanut Butter! by Karen Rose Smith



Instead of pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving, I'll be baking a pecan pie and stirring up a peanut butter cream pie.  We'll be visiting friends and joining in their family celebration of the holiday. We love tradition. But there will be kids who are picky about their flavors.  Peanut butter is always a hit.  And who can resist the candylike taste of a pecan pie?

So here are the recipes I use for these easy pies that are good any time of the year.

Pecan Pie 
(I use the Karo recipe.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1 cup Karo syrup (light or dark)
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pecans
1 unbaked deep-dish pie shell

Mix corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla, using a spoon.  Stir in pecans.  Pour the filling into the unbaked crust.  I cover the edges with aluminum foil strips to prevent them from browning too much.  Bake for 60-70 minutes at 360.  I use a candy thermometer to test the temperature.  When it hits 200 degrees, the pie is done.  The top should spring back when carefully touched.












Peanut Butter Cream Pie
(I use Mr. Food's Peanut Butter Cream Pie)

A baked 9 inch pie shell. 

4 tablespoons butter
2 cups milk (I use whole milk for a firmer texture.)
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water
4 egg yolks
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (I use Jiff!)
Whipped topping
You can also sprinkle mini chocolate chips on the top after it is cooled.

In a large saucepan, combine the butter, milk, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl, whisk cornstarch and water until smooth, then whisk in the egg yolks.  Whisk egg mixture into the boiling milk mixture and stir until thick over medium heat.  Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter.  Pour into baked pie shell,  Chill and then top with whipped cream and mini chocolate chips.

The perfect end to a Thanksgiving Day feast!


My new mystery STAGED TO DEATH includes original recipes!





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Four #Christmas #Romances by Karen Rose Smith



What novel is better to read this time of year than a holiday romance?

Writing novels set around the sentiments of Thanksgiving and Christmas evoke emotion in the characters.  They remember past Christmases, childhood ornaments, wreaths on the door.  The holidays bring with them a yearning for belonging.  That's where romance and family come in.

If you enjoy books that employ the meaning of Thanksgiving and Christmas in their storylines, here are five of my books you might enjoy.


 

A doctor and a Wyoming cowgirl fall in love around the holidays.  Lucy's gift to Zack -- the real meaning of Christmas.






Love is just a jingle bell away when a sexy toy store owner and a pretty job counselor travel the rocky road to love.





A former stunt man turned lodge owner and a trauma make-up artist meet in Colorado to help an actress who has become a recluse.  When their scars are bared, they all learn the power of love.






Can a marriage of convenience become a true marriage?  Jake and Sara find the meaning of Christmas in forgiveness.




 

 Tessa and Max are reunited when Max's son needs them both.  Thanksgiving could be a holiday they celebrate for a lifetime.

FREE




















©2013 Karen Rose Smith


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#Lenox #Cat Giveaway by Karen Rose Smith



Would you like to have something special in your house this Christmas?  How about a Lenox Christmas cat?  This beautiful porcelain china collectible will brighten any animal lover's house, not only this year but in years to come.

All you have to do to enter is tell me whether you chose your pet...or your pet chose you.  You will see both in my Caprice De Luca home-stager mysteries.  But mostly the animals choose Caprice!

In my life, my dad chose our first dog, a cocker spaniel, as an anniversary present for my mom.  He chose my first two kittens.  They were both yellow tabbies.  When I was in high school, a friend asked if we'd like a white kitten.  She was our first "inside" cat and we treated her like a princess.  She was a beauty.  When my husband and I were first married, we chose a calico from a pet store.  Two years later, we accepted into our apartment a gray angora from a farm.  Their names were Whiskey and Mimi, and at seventeen and fifteen, they died within a few months of each other.  They were close, always grooming each other and sleeping together.  Then came Kasie, a striking calico, too, who was our wildest feline.  She would run and then jump up the wooden door frames, sliding down with her claws.  Kasie had hyperthyroidism and lived to fourteen.  Twelve years ago this Christmas on a snowy morning, we visited a friend's farm and a little black kitten stole my heart.  She had a bad respiratory infection.  It was the week before Christmas, a few days before my birthday, and I couldn't leave her in the cold and snow.  I brought her home, took her to the vet, and nursed her for several weeks.  Ebbie and I have always had a special, sisterly relationship.  A few months later, we adopted her half sister, a gray tabby we named London.

Sixteen months ago Zoie Joy chose our redbud tree to hide in after a storm so we could save her!  Lance, a hurt yellow tabby who needed lots of care found us last summer.  It seemed like a full circle.

So to enter this Lenox giveaway, just make a comment about whether you chose your pet or he/she chose you.  Feel free to tell your story.  Pet people love to share.

Only US and Canadian entries please.  Also, you must leave your email address so I can contact you if you win.  If you want to message it to me on Facebook or email me at Karen@karenrosesmith.com, that's okay, too.  The giveaway will close on November 30, 2013.  That gives us lots of time to collect and read each other's stories of meeting our best friends.

Good luck and have a great start to your holiday season.

Best,
Karen


©2013 Karen Rose Smith




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#Veterans Day Thanks by Karen Rose Smith




When I was a child, my aunt and mom had 8 x 10 framed photographs sitting in our living rooms that were portraits of my dad and his brothers who served.  They were front and center, though my dad and uncles never spoke of their service and the rest of the family never asked questions.  One of my uncles was lost in World War II.  Although I never met Johnny, his face is still clear in my mind because of that photograph.

My father-in-law served in World War II and was a soldier in Patton's army.  We miss him.  My dad was a soldier in WW II also.  He has passed on, too, and not a day goes by that I don't think about him.  Veterans Day brings back lots of memories.  My college years were impacted by the Vietnam War and many of my high school and college classmates served.  I wrote to a serviceman in Vietnam for two years and still have his letters with the details of his service there.  Because I've written Veteran heroes in several of my books, I've read diaries that one of our community colleges had collected--oral transcripts of servicemen's lives in Vietnam.  They touched me deeply and gave me greater respect and admiration for these men and women.

In all my research, one thing was clear.  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was ignored for years and sometimes still is. This issue is important because we need to remember what our soldiers face after they come home as well as what they face in their service.  Time doesn't always heal. When I delve into PTSD in my novels, I do it because I want to deal with the scars that are deeper than physical wounds and the power of love that can help our heroes heal.  My family members, classmates and the servicemen I interviewed were and are honorable men, brave and quiet about everything they've experienced.

On this Veterans Day, I want to thank and give tribute to all who serve, and I pray that they are uplifted by the power of love.






©2013 Karen Rose Smith
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In Touch with Karen Rose Smith e-zine is posted! #Contest #microboom wireless speaker


Hi, everyone! The holiday edition of my e-zine is now posted. This is my insider newsletter with my latest projects, release info, photos and...a contest every edition.  For this holiday edition, I'm giving away a Microboom wireless speaker that you can use with your Iphones, Ipads, Androids, Kindle Fires and almost anything with bluetooth capability.  I have one of these and I can't believe the volume that comes out of this little 2 1/4 inch speaker.  My audiobooks as well as music are enhanced to a higher level.

I've included photos in this edition of the wolves at the wolf sanctuary we visited as well as photos of our cats. You'll also find an original cookie recipe I developed for the December release of my first mystery from Kensington--STAGED TO DEATH.

IN TOUCH with KAREN ROSE SMITH newsletter

Enjoy reading.  Sign up to follow so you don't miss an issue!

Best,
Karen



©2013 Karen Rose Smith



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Caprice's Choco Chunks and Chips #Cookie #Recipe by Karen Rose Smith





Every Christmas, my mom and I would begin baking cookies after Thanksgiving.  She was an elementary school teacher, so we would often bake them in the evenings.  Then we stored them in tight cans and placed them in a cool closet.  I learned how to bake from my mom, and I still make her recipes at Christmas.

But this recipe is one I created strictly for Caprice--my sleuth in STAGED TO DEATH who loves to cook, the mystery booksellers, the readers on my mailing list, my street team, my readers group, and now for all my readers.  Here is the recipe for Caprice's Choco Chunks and Chips Cookies!

1/2 cup salted butter softened
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
3 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 oz milk chocolate (I use two 3 oz Dove bars broken into small pieces or chunks.  These bars break or cut up easily.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a mixer, cream softened butter and peanut butter.  Mix in brown sugar and granulated sugar until creamed together.  Add eggs and mix well.  Add cinnamon and vanilla.  Add baking powder and baking soda.  Blend well.  Add 2 cups of flour, a quarter cup at a time with mixer on low speed, constantly scraping bowl.  Stir in the other cup of flour, a quarter cup at a time, by hand until completely blended.  Stir in chocolate chips and chunks.

Roll into 1 1/2 inch balls, place on cookie sheet 2 inches apart and press down slightly with palm of hand.  (I usually put 12 cookies on one cookie sheet.)

Bake 11 - 12 minutes until golden brown and set.  (The type of cookie sheet you use can affect the baking time.  Darker cookie sheets bake faster.)

Remove from the oven and let the cookies sit a minute on a cool surface.  Remove from pan.

Recipe makes about 30 - 36 cookies.  Let cool until the chocolate hardens.  Unless you eat all of them gooey warm!

Enjoy Caprice's special cookies.  I wish you a memory-filled and meaningful holiday season and new year.


  

©2013 Karen Rose Smith



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Five Facts About Feral Cats That Humans Must Understand by Karen Rose Smith



I've written about feral cats and their shelters in previous blogs.  I feel strongly about taking care of the animals that gravitate to us.  To simply feed them without shelter or to shelter them without feeding them doesn't meet their needs.  I wrote a previous blog concerning what I learned about feral cats.  There are five more facts I didn't cover then.

FACT 1--You have to lead these cats slowly for their welfare.  They are scared at first, hyper-vigilant, wary and ready to freak and run.  The kind thing is to let them.  But then...

New Visitor


If you don't have patience when you start, you will learn it.  We started by leaving dry food.  Last summer a red tabby we named Lancelot came to us with a kitten.  After a week, the kitten didn't come and I'm hoping it was rescued.  However, Lance was injured as if he'd protected the little one in battle.  When we saw Lance had trouble eating, we switched to canned food.  He began coming regularly in the late afternoon only at first.  But then he began coming in the morning, too.  He started talking to us and rubbing against our legs.  He began taking naps for longer periods under the brush around the patio.  I spent many afternoons on the patio with him--working, taking a break, breathing.  We set up two shelters and I sprinkled the doorway and top of the shelters with catnip.  One day rain poured down and Lance stayed there all day.  After that, if his mouth hurt when he ate, he ran to the shelter until he felt better.  Around this time, he made the decision to stay.  He was ours.  He wasn't going anywhere.  That's when we captured him to take him to the vet, that's when we learned he had FIV, that's when we learned we couldn't bring him inside with our other three "inside" cats.  Thus began a journey in expense, energy and commitment that we were taking on.  ...Until the end came much more swiftly than we expected.
Lancelot

We led Lance and he led us. We loved Lance and he loved us. Last summer was priceless.

FACT 2--Most feral cats do not like confined spaces.  At first, Lance wouldn't go near the sunporch off the basement.  But eventually I could convince him to eat in there.  When it rained one morning, he sat in there with me.  After his first vet visit and neutering, that sunporch became his home.  This confined space became tolerable to him though he enjoyed most sleeping on a chair between the sunporch and the basement door.
Lance

FACT 3--Lance learned that catnip identified his "safe" places.  Almost daily, I sprinkled catnip in the door of the shelter and on top.  I also wafted it outside the doorways of the feral shelter that was different  from the others.  I also smoothed it on a rug I wanted him to use or a place that would be good for him to lay.  He was afraid of new surfaces.  But the catnip made them tolerable.
Guinevere

FACT 4--I quickly learned that feral cats never really sleep solidly.  They sleep with one eye open.  They sleep with one ear cocked toward the newest sound.  Lance only slept deeply on my lap when I was petting him and he knew he was safe.

FACT 5--Feral cats never really play.  They lie on their backs in the sun.  They watch butterflies and bees with respective awe.  They live and let live with creatures they know won't hurt them.  But they don't play.  They expend all their energy on survival.
Lance

After Lance, we weren't sure we could ever take care of an animal like that again.  We saw two other cats come and go who seemed to have other homes--Romeo and Guinevere.
 
Newcomer
But then one night last week, a new smaller cat, a red tabby,  fed at the feeder.  He was a smaller version of Lance.  His markings are so similar.  A calico has also appeared.  She looks to be the same age as the red tabby and has similar facial structure.  They might be brother and sister.  They only appear in the late afternoon now and don't realize yet they can be safe here, that there are shelters with heat pads, that we can be friends.  Hopefully in patience and with time, they'll decide if they want to stay.  Then the real care will start.  Then I'll let myself name them and love them no matter what happens next.

Romeo
©2013 Karen Rose Smith



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