Sunday, December 18, 2011

Applesauce Bread Recipe

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3 cups flour
2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups applesauce
1 cup golden raisins
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup sour cream

Grease and flour two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans or three 8  x 4inch loaf pans. (I used the 8 x 4)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat together eggs, sugar and oil.  Pour in applesauce and mix and then sour cream (recipe says you can also use buttermilk.  I used sour cream.)  Mix in flour, baking powder, soda and cinnamon.  Stir in raisins. Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake 9 x 5 pans for 80 minutes.  I baked 8 x 4 pans for 75 minutes.  Test with toothpick.  Should come out clean.  Cool on rack for ten minutes then remove from pans for rest of cooling. 


Monday, October 24, 2011

This is a thank you blog to all my readers who have made my jumping into ebooks a terrific experience. Where would authors be without readers?  I've been in traditional publishing for 20 years. I still have the mailing list that I began in 1992 when my first book was released. Once a year I still update these readers with news and what's happening in my publishing life. Many of my readers aren't online and I receive snail mail from them. I love to receive those letters as well as email letters.
Over the past few years I've seen the changes in publishing. Years ago one of my titles Just The Husband She Chose was chosen for a trial program into ebook form. I was excited then but nothing much happened. E-readers were still out of the average person's range. Now however that has all changed. Last winter I decided to publish my back titles in ebook form. It took a while for readers to find me but now they are and I love this new format as well as print publishing. I believe there is still a place for both in this new publishing world. I like the ease and speed of downloading a book onto my kindle. But I also still like to hold that print book in my hand, to study that glossy cover, to turn down the corners on the pages. Old fashioned? Maybe. But I've been around long enough to realize not everything in life is black and white and we have choices. We don't have to choose one over the other because we can have both. At least for now.
So I'm pleased to say I've epubbed the first books I wrote and I've epubbed original new work, too. My epub series Search For Love is a combination of both. I hope my print readers and ebook readers will continue to look for my titles because I find myself speeding up instead of slowing down. And possibly in the future you will see novels from me that are other than romance! Right now my very first Special Edition is #13 on the Amazon Contemporary Romance Bestseller list and I want to thank my readers for that honor, too.

I just found this link for Kindle lovers. Go here to see some fabulous titles. 


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Apple Dessert

A Facebook friend asked me for the recipe for this terrific apple dessert. Enjoy!

1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups peeled, finely chopped or sliced apples
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

Combine dry ingredients and set aside. In large mixing bowl, beat eggs until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla extract. Blend in dry ingredients. Stir is nuts and apples by hand. Transfer mixture to a prepared 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until apples are softened. Cool. Serve with vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Salmon with brown sugar and lemon

It seems I've been blogging everywhere but here! I hope to post a new blog later this week. For now, a Twitter friend asked for this salmon recipe. I like "easy" and this certainly is. We have a new trend in our house. Instead of going out to eat, we use about half of that amount to eat in and splurge on the ingredients. I serve this salmon dish with steamed asparagus and red-skinned potatoes. Healthy, easy and good!  Enjoy.

Salmon with lemon

2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup packed brown sugar, plus 8 teaspoons
1 lb. salmon (original recipe says 4 salmon fillets. I keep it        in one piece.)
1 tablespoon butter, melted
4 thin slices lemon

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Pour lemon juice into ungreased rectangular baking dish, 11" x 7 1/2" x 2"; sprinkle with 1/4 cup brown sugar. Place salmon in dish and drizzle butter over salmon. Bake uncovered 15 minutes. Turn. Place sliced lemon on salmon. Sprinkle with 8 teaspoons brown sugar. (If using individual filets, put one slice of lemon on each and sprinkle each with 2 teaspoons.) Bake until fish flakes easily with fork, 15-20 minutes longer. Serve with juices from dish.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011



Remember the furor over the royal wedding?  Kate became a princess and William became Prince Charming.  We watched the vows with tears in our eyes and couldn't wait for that first kiss.  Cinderella might be an ages-old fairytale but the storyline encourages dreams from the little girls who watch Disney-princess movies to the women who faithfully follow the Bachelor and the Bachelorette.  Subliminally, our curiosity in relationships and interest in public romances is all about the happily-ever-after storyline.  Can two people fall in love and commit to each other for a lifetime?

My husband and I recently celebrated our fortieth wedding anniversary.  I wouldn't be able to write romances from my heart unless I believed in them.  When I was a little girl, I remember pretending a lace curtain was a bridal veil.  My girlfriends and I reenacted the marriage ceremony.  Recently by BFF's daughter asked if she could play dress-up with her mom's wedding gown.  Are the dreams of little girls now any different than ten or twenty or forty years ago?  Loving and being loved drive our collective consciousness.  Have you ever been in the midst of a crowd at a wedding and watched everyone grow misty-eyed?  The emotion that takes over—other than the love we have for the couple saying the vows—is hope.  The Cinderella fairytale can give a woman hope that she can find love, look beautiful in a bridal gown and believe in the vows she recites on her wedding day.

Little girls aspire to be princesses. Many women long to believe they will find their one true love who is kind, gentle, charming and the man they can spend the rest of their lives with. Prince Charming doesn't have to be a "prince" on a white steed. He just has to convince the woman he loves that she's his Cinderella.  Are fairy-tale endings possible?  I believe women long to believe they are.  That's why the romance genre lives on and why our hearts melt when a couple says, "I do."

Karen Rose Smith is the best-selling, award-winning author of 75 published romances.  Readers can follow her on Twitter @ karenrosesmith and on Facebook (Karen Rose Smith author), visit at her website Karen's website for new releases. For contests and more detailed info and contests, they can follow her e-zine IN TOUCH with Karen Rose Smith.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Blog Tour!

~September Blog Tour for
ONCE UPON A GROOM, Harlequin Special Edition~

Monday, July 18, 2011

Setting: All Important

Where are my places of power? Where do I fill up creatively and spiritually? Where do I feel most confident, most peaceful, most like me?

When I choose a setting, I think of these questions because the setting I choose affects my books in an integral way. In my first few books, I chose the town where I grew up to be my backdrop for many reasons. Garnering local publicity was a big one. But I believe I mainly chose it for familiarity. I knew what shops and businesses were located downtown. I had a host of suburbs to choose from. The town was large enough so I could weave in anything I needed. Most of all, I knew it so well I could concentrate on all the other elements necessary to sell those books. Years later when I set a more expansive book there that dealt with the 1970's, I realized my heart was in my hometown and that shone through whether or not I'd realized the fact in my earlier books.

Sometimes I choose a setting because of my hero or heroine's background or career path. If I want to write about a venture capitalist, I could choose Chicago or New York City. A trauma surgeon would lead me to a more heavily populated area and have hundreds of patient contacts whereas a small town doctor would be involved with fewer patients over his or her lifetime. If I select a large city, I still create a community of characters because friendships and family bonds are critical in my novels. A hometown gives my hero or heroine roots. If my character is a newcomer, he or she can feel estranged from the residents, or see this place with a sense of exploration. My hero and heroine can shade a reader's opinion of any setting.

A fictional setting is often the easiest to use. I can give the town a flavor all of its own. My street names can be picturesque or utilitarian. I can build a hospital with a specialized Neonatal Intensive Care unit or create a lake for boating. Anything and everything I will need for my plot can be a product of my imagination.

For my Reunion Brides series that began in February, I chose a setting that is as important as any character. Miners Bluff is a fictional former copper mining town near Flagstaff, Arizona. Forests, canyons and mountains are infusing the books with their own special magic while I write. My heroes and heroines are surrounded by a natural beauty that infiltrates not merely the descriptions but the imagery I use as well. Because this is one of my favorite destinations that fills up my creative spirit—particularly Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon--my feelings about the area seep into the emotion and conflict. This setting becomes a character in itself.

Every setting should have a purpose. Before beginning a project, I ask myself—What does this setting accomplish? If I'm mindful of its purpose, it can become a major influence in whatever I write.
(For another of my favorite settings, my garden, check out my e-zine--IN TOUCH with Karen Rose Smith.)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Do Free E-books Increase Sales?

Do Free E-books Increase Sales?

I'm trying an experiment. We hear so much about free e-books and $.99 books in the present market climate. Especially for authors e-publishing their backlist, we have to ask the question—How do readers find us? With over 70 books for sale, about a quarter of those in e-book form, how do readers know my backlist from my current titles?

For Easter week, I gave away my re-release LOVE IN BLOOM, now an e-book, with a coupon at I've done this before and had about a dozen downloads. This time a blogger who posts free books picked it up and I had over 200 downloads! But I didn't sell any of my other backlist titles there. I sold two on Amazon. My husband, wise man that he is, told me to give those readers a chance to read LOVE IN BLOOM and maybe sales would go up! To give the readers who do return to my backlist a bonus, I lowered the prices on MOM MEETS DAD to $.99 on Amazon and Smashwords. The price cut hasn't reached Barnes and Noble yet. I'm going to allow the price to stay at $.99 for the month.

Something else I did when I decided to put up my backlist was design the covers all similarly. They have an identifying arch with my name as well as my logo. Since I have titles from three different publishers, I used a different color for each publisher but all in the same style.

I'm building a following on Twitter and Facebook and enjoy posting regularly. My e-books are listed on my website and my Facebook author page. If either writers or readers have suggestions on how to help readers find those titles, I'm interested! Please feel free to comment or e-mail me. And remember, MOM MEETS DAD is $.99 for the month of May at Smashwords and on Kindle. Happy reading!


Monday, April 11, 2011

Little Things Matter: In Life And In Writing

One of the things I love about my cats is that they live in the moment! And they seem to appreciate the smallest gifts—the little things. I was labeling varieties of tomato plants on popsicle sticks. London and Ebbie seemed bored with another rainy day and no rainbows from the suncatchers. So I tossed a popsicle stick to each of them. Like kids, they each need one of their own. They played and played with them, batting them around, just lying on the floor watching them, moving the sticks a tiny bit with their paws and then sitting on them. The sticks were such little things that were giving them pleasure and exercise!

Life is made up of day-to-day moments. Some of them are important and some of them just shore us up for the next one. We've had a week of cloudy days and rain. But I found this beautiful little flower in my garden today along with the wonderful daffodil. And I smiled broadly, taking in the sun and letting it fill me up. I told myself to relax for just ten minutes, breathe and appreciate every little thing in my life, just like London and Ebbie can.

When I'm writing I have to, of course, concentrate on the big moments, the conflict moments, the most emotional moments in a relationship. But to give my characters real life, I have to concentrate on smaller moments, too. In my February release, His Daughter...Their Child, the hero and heroine ride to a canyon. The scenery, the striated canyon walls, the junipers growing by the stream, affect the emotions in the scene. It's a backdrop that allows them to stop and appreciate the feelings that are growing for each other. Little things that were common from a shared history in high school--like chocolate milk and biscotti at a friend's B&B--help them connect once more.

We know we're supposed to stop and smell the roses. I love doing that, too, when they're blooming. But I think we miss so many opportunities to smile, to fill up, to brighten someone else's day. I've found the little things matter--in writing...and in life.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

To Update A Re-Release Or Not

Today I'm going to discuss a dilemma veteran writers face—to update or not to update? I've had over seventy novels published by traditional publishers since 1991. Every writer is facing the "new" world of publishing which includes the e-reader world. I've often had readers ask me for copies of my first novels, but I couldn't provide them when they were out of print. I've had the rights on eleven novels for some time now, but was waiting for the right opportunity to do something with them. Suddenly writers and readers have been thrust into a digitalized world and there is more demand for ebooks. I waited because in 2000 Harlequin tried a demo program for ebooks that I was a participant in that didn't take off. Now the market is different.

When I set out to e-publish my re-releases, I thought I'd just have to learn about reformatting, nuclear option, the style requirements of each digital publisher and finding an artist to develop a new cover. But after I uploaded my first two published novels whose plots revolved largely around a non-tech world (1992-93), I started reading the rest with a different eye. I decided to update them. The basic plots were still universal and, to my surprise, timely! A small town doctor (LOVE IN BLOOM) must make a career decision. A hero with a special needs sister (KIT AND KISSES) finds a heroine worthy of his love. A massage therapist helps a type A personality single dad de-stress (RIBBONS AND RAINBOWS). Two eight year old girls who are best friends want to see their parents—a single mom and a single dad—fall in love (MOM MEETS DAD). I think you get the idea. But, of course, the technological advances were missing. When I wrote these books, cell phones weren't common. We were listening to tapes not CD's. We watched videotapes not DVD's. So I went through seven more books with an eye to making those changes—along with a few others I found along the way. A former English teacher can never stop editing. But, also, I didn't upload two of the titles because I didn't feel they could be updated successfully.

So I guess this is a question I have for readers and writers. When a writer brings out her re-releases, do you want those stories updated? Or do you want them preserved in the time in which they were written? All comments and discussion much appreciated! With coupon code MA29F Readers can download a free version of KIT AND KISSES at

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I mentioned what I was making for supper on Twitter, and a new friend asked me for the recipe. I thought readers might be interested, so I've posted it here. I love to cook (that Italian heritage idea that giving food is giving love) and I have basic recipes that lend to different variations. This is one of them. Enjoy!

My version of chicken chili (We go light on the spices.)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 large sweet onion (about a cup)
1/2 cup grated carrots
5 tablespoons flour
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
2 cans chicken broth (14.5 oz cans)
2 cans Great Northern beans
1 can black beans
1 1/2 cups cut up cooked chicken (I bake an extra large breast when we have chicken the night before and use that. Rotisserie chickens work well, too, but that adds salt.

Topping can be sour cream, cheddar cheese, chopped tomato or whatever suits.

I use this basic roux (oil and flour mix) for everything from mustard chicken to a thyme beef gravy for turkey meatballs. You can adjust it according to your taste.

Using a high sided skillet, slightly heat the olive oil on medium, then drop in onions and grated carrots. Stir until the onion is translucent. The carrots will steam further in the cooking process. I mix flour, chili and cumin (you can add more of the spices if you like it hotter) and then sprinkle that mixture over the onions and carrots. Stir for a minute or two until the flour and spices are worked in.

Once you have a paste, pour in one can of chicken broth. Stir until gravy-like and then add the other can. Cook on medium to medium-high for about two minutes, constantly stirring to thicken. I use canned beans to make this a quick recipe, but I rinse them with water to cut sodium. I just open the cans, drain, use water from the spigot, shake them and then add to skillet. Stir in chicken(again as much or little as you want).

There are two ways you can cook until done. Either just let the chili on the stove and simmer for about 20 minutes. Or the method I like—just dump the chili into a crock pot (I spray mine with Pam) and turn on low for about three hours. The beans soften more, the spices have more zest, and the chili is ready whenever you want it!

There are so many variations on this. You can chop peppers and add them instead of the carrots. You can mix in chopped tomatoes with the chicken. I try to keep it as low salt as possible by rinsing the beans and not adding any additional salt. But salt to taste. It tastes even better the next day!

Cats and Exercise

Since the winter weather doesn't want to give up, I thought I'd blog about something to keep us healthy during the year, especially in the winter. Did you ever notice how and when cats exercise? No one has to tell them to do a full body stretch when they wake up from a nap! Or to roll on their backs and reach up to the ceiling. Or to flex their paws and lay out long and lean against their scratching post. They relax in the sun to soak in Vitamin D, and at least twice a day they run through the house for aerobic exercise. Batting fake mice and tinfoil balls around the room as well as chasing rainbows from the sun catcher are extras they add when they are supercharged with energy. All of it comes naturally.

Humans on the other hand do not naturally take care of themselves, especially when it comes to exercise. Winter becomes harder on us as we age, especially if we don't belong to a gym or to the Y or join a walking or exercise class. When I was younger, I rode my bike, worked out at a gym, and did aerobics. But a back injury and then a knee injury put me on the sidelines where major exercise is concerned. I have fibromyalgia, so stretching has been part of my routine for many years as is exercising in a pool. It's amazing what a half hour two to three times a week can do for a body. So even if we don't like to or can't jog, or play sports, or swim, we can at least stretch. Maybe if we copy our cats' exercise regimen, we'd be healthier!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Birdhouses and Books

By now, you can tell I'm always thinking about plots and books. If I'm in the garden, I'm peaceful and one scene might play right after the other in my mind. Today we put up new birdhouses. The old ones were falling apart. The roofs had worn through with the weather. The new ones are colorful and easy to see from our patio. This morning I was thinking that all the houses need are tenants. There are three birdhouses and I'm guessing that bluebirds, wrens and barn sparrows will be moving in. I can't wait to see the activity.
Studying those birdhouses and waiting for tenants, I was considering my new book. It's the third book in the series. I introduced the heroine in books one and two, so I know her to some extent. In the synopsis I fleshed out her character and the hero's. But I won't really know my people until I write about them and watch their backgrounds change and take shape. The secondary characters will evolve chapter after chapter. In a sense, I'm waiting for my tenants to move in! I'll get to know them each time I pick up my tape recorder and visit with them. Birdhouses and books. Hmmm. Who would have thought?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Twinkle Lights and Spring

I love twinkle lights. At Christmas we have them several different places—on bushes outside, along a garland on the stairway, in the wreath on the door. They add brightness to the holiday and to the dreary winter afterward. organized as my husband is, he likes to put all the decorations away at once. Yes, it makes logical sense since they go in the basement in a not-easy-to-access place. But this year I asked him not to touch the wreath on the door. Decorated with aqua gauzy ribbon, blue-green pine cones and white twinkle lights, it brightens long dark nights. But now we're approaching the first day of spring. Ebbie and London are watching the birds outside the window. Robins are arriving in droves. My Beatrix Stanley orchid irises are blooming and daffodils and hyacinths are sprouting. So this weekend, the twinkle-lighted wreath will come off the door.

We need a little brightness in our lives all year through. The bright colors of spring will decorate my gardens and my life. And I'll save the twinkle lights for next winter, enjoying the sights and scents of a brand new season today.

Monday, March 14, 2011

True Blue Flowers and Heroes

Part of my garden is blue with delphiniums, a Blue-girl rose bush, blue pansies and bluebells. Blue is my favorite color. A picture in a flower catalog last fall caught my attention—a Beatrix Stanley orchid iris. I've bought flowers before that were supposed to be blue but turned out to be lavender or purple. But when the Beatrix Stanley iris orchid bloomed last week (an early bloomer), it was true blue! I began thinking about that description, and since I was developing a new book at that time, my heroes came to mind.
When I consider a hero for one of my plotlines, I give him a painful background, a rugged, sexy appearance, a career he is passionate about and a heroine who can not only catch his eye, but keep it for a lifetime. The men I create are never perfect. They do have flaws. But I lay the groundwork for one character trait that never changes—these men are true blue. They are loyal, full of integrity and have always stepped up to protect and defend. When they accept the vulnerability of loving, they become real heroes—true blue and steadfast husbands for the rest of their lives.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Meet London

Our London is a gray tabby. She's Ebbie's half sister. When we brought Ebbie home in December 2000, her mom was pregnant again with another litter. After the new year we lost our older cat who had been sick for a while with hyperthyroidism. So we decided to bring home a companion for Ebbie. Her mom's litter this time was all gray tabbies. We chose the baby who was the smallest. When I picked her up and held her, she looked up at me and just settled in. I knew she was ours. We visited her until she was old enough to bring home. After a vet visit I had to keep her separate from Ebbie for two weeks until London could have another blood test. We kept her in a bedroom upstairs and I would bring her out to play with in another room, washing my hands and changing clothes afterward just in case. When London got the all clear from the vet, we put her in her pet carrier. I'd read that the cat already in the house shouldn't see you bring in the new one. So my husband left the carrier in my office when Ebbie was in another part of the house and then let her "find" London. After she sniffed around for a while, we let London out. They took off chasing each other right away with no malice, just sort of running together. Eventually they settled down at different spots for a nap.

When my husband and I were first married we had two cats that were inseparable. They slept together and groom each other. London and Ebbie have never done that. They are companions rather than close-up buddies. London has gotten more territorial as she's gotten older and Ebbie puts up with that, coming to me when London is rowdy. London is still the baby—demanding, moody and yet cuddly. Whenever I sit in my favorite chair, she jumps on my lap. Our household wouldn't be the same without her.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Meet Ebbie

Since my blog title was partially inspired by my cats, I'd like to introduce them to you. I'll start with Ebbie because I don't know whether or not I can upload more than one picture. I had a friend who read my ARC for any typos. Her family had a farm. When we drove out there to pick up my manuscript, I saw Ebbie for the first time. It was one of those AAHH moments. We had a sick cat and didn't think we should bring another in. But Ebbie was sick, too, with a respiratory infection and she was outdoors. We went home and I couldn't sleep for a few nights thinking about her. It was that kind of connection from the start. So I made a unilateral decision (which is unusual) and said, "I'm bringing her home. We'll keep her upstairs if we have to." Ebbie went to the vet first but I spent several nights doing accupressure on her sinuses to help her breathe. We bonded in a way I've never bonded with an animal and I've had cats and a dogs all my life. After two courses of antibiotics, I took her to a holistic vet. Ebbie is now a beautiful ten-year-old who is my constant companion. I use a tape recorder to write. When I'm doing an emotional scene, she's right there, pawing at the tape recorder, nuzzling my nose, just making sure everything is okay. I love her dearly and she brings comfort and joy to my life. I'll post about her half-sister in my next blog!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pruning Roses and Revision

Pruning roses and revision have much in common! Our weather in PA this past week has been erratic yet milder. I couldn't wait to walk around the garden now that the snow melted. One of my first stops was the rose buses. We have five hybrid teas and two climbers in the back yard. ((More about names and colors in a future blog.) Each one is unique not only in the color, size, shape and fragrance of its roses but in the color, size and shape of its foliage. All of them survived the winter heartily with refreshing green color. But as soon as the weather stabilizes I will have to prune back these bushes, removing what looks like viable growth. I don't like to do that. Why can't I just let them grow? Because they won't be as healthy, won't be as ready for new life, won't produce as many roses by the end of summer. Extra wood and foliage will draw energy from the blooms, weakening them. I think you can see where I'm going with this. We write a book and it's our baby and we don't want to change one thing about it. But I've learned to trust my critique partner (another subject for another day) and my editors. When suggestions come with what I consider to be a finished manuscript, I know better than to react. I know I need perspective. I look at the project as a whole, then walk away for a little while or else answer the "easy" queries first. I might even take a walk in the garden. Then after a deep breath, I return to the project to trim or prune, to make changes that can enable new growth not only to this project but to all my projects. It's never easy, it can be hard work, it can sometimes be downright painful. But it's how plants and writers grow.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cats, Roses...and Books!

I'm new to setting up a blog so here goes. I chose the title Cats, Roses...and Books! for this blog because I'd like to discuss a variety of subjects as well as every day life. My every day life is mostly made up of two cats--Ebbie and London pawing their way into everything I do. This time of year I'll also start gardening, particularly planting seeds. Hopefully later this week I'll start petunias and heirloom tomatoes growing. I also love roses and like to take pictures of them all. Hopefully I'll be able to share those with you.  Let's just stick cooking in here for the fun of it because whenever I have time, I like to be in the kitchen especially using fresh herbs and vegetables. Finally, I'll discuss my publishing life--next year will be my twentieth anniversary since my book first was released--and books! So I hope readers will feel free to jump in and discuss and question. I'm looking forward to an early spring.