Thursday, December 8, 2016
Bust out the Dutch ovens: it’s getting “chili” in Texas. The origins of the robust dish Texans fervently claim as their own are, as food writers are wont to say, lost to history. But Frank X. Tolbert, in his 1953 treatise on Texas chili, A Bowl of Red, made a pretty good case for San Antonio as the birthplace of the ruddy, lustrous, peppery pot of meat we’re so fond of. So did the Sixty-fifth Legislature, which anointed it our official dish in 1977, boldly declaring that “Texans continue today the tradition begun in San Antonio 140 years ago of making the best and only authentic concoction of this piquant delicacy.” No doubt chili’s connection to Texas is deep and indisputable, from Gebhardt to Wolf brand, from the late-nineteenth-century “chili queens” of the Alamo City’s downtown plazas to the modern-day maestros of the Terlingua cookoffs.
But don’t look for a united Texan front when it comes to defining “authentic” (except for a near universal, almost hysterical aversion to the inclusion of beans). I lack the fortitude to wade into the murky depths of secret formulas and verboten ingredients and therefore align myself with the author of this recipe, Terry Thompson-Anderson, who reasonably suggests that perhaps “the rivalry and the controversy make for dozens of equally fabulous bowls of chili.”
Serves 8 to 10
12 ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed
7 pasilla chiles, stems and seeds removed
2 1/2 tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted, then ground
1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds, toasted, then ground
1 1/2 tablespoons dried Mexican oregano
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
6 pounds beef chuck roast
1/3 cup fresh leaf lard (preferable) or shortening
2 large onions, chopped
15 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup tomato paste
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
3 quarts chicken stock (set aside 2/3 cup for the masa harina)
1/2 cup masa harina whisked into 2/3 cup hot chicken stock
Recipe and Photo are property of Texas Monthly Magazine. (http://www.texasmonthly.com/food/chili-recipe-no-beans/)
Monday, November 28, 2016
Thursday, November 24, 2016
Thanksgiving is over and now it's time to start gobbling up deals for the holidays... but don't forget to grab a little something just for YOU too. We've got six authors with fabulous deals to share here:
Anne Conley has put all of her books on sale for only .99 for Black Friday ONLY, so grab them while they’re cheap—from contemporary romance in small town Texas, to gripping romantic suspense in Austin, to the archangels falling to earth in Paranormal Romance, to her stand-alone novels. They’re all on sale! Stories of Serendipity, Pierce Securities, Four Winds, and the Book B!tches all have their prices cut way low to fill your e-reader with steamy reads to heat up your holidays.
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Check out Carly Fall's Supernatural Renegades Series: Paranormal / Military Romance
While fighting the War on Drugs in Guatemala, a unit of marines was involved in an accident that left them each of them with a supernatural ability. Follow their stories as they maneuver through the dangerous games of intrigue, secrecy and corruption to find safety … and love.
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The Guardians Series by Elise Marion
Urban Fantasy Romance
Book 1 FREE
Book 2 $0.99
In the war between Heaven and Hell, a special race of humans with supernatural abilities will represent the balance between darkness and light. They are known as The Guardians. Demon hunters Jack and Micah are dedicated to the cause of the Guardians, but their new mission is about to turn their lives upside down. Half-demon Naphil Addison Monroe needs protection; she’s been chosen by Heaven for an important mission. The darkness inside her goes against everything they fight for … and yet neither will be able to resist her magnetic pull. In the midst of a war pitting good against evil, two partners and best friends will also find themselves waging a war for Addison’s heart.
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The Chained Trilogy by Elise Marion
A Medieval Fantasy Romance
Book 1 FREE
Book 2 $0.99
House Maignart. House Toustain. Two royal houses embroiled in a bloody feud. 30 years of peace broken in an instant…
When a peace treaty is broken between houses, Lady Gwendolyn Toustain takes Sir Caden Maginart as her prisoner, chaining him to the wall of her bedchamber. As attraction flares between them, they soon discover that a third party is responsible for inciting strife between their families. While working to restore peace to the realm, two mortal enemies will become lovers. Is their bond strong enough to overcome the hatred between clans?
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The Scandalous Ballroom Encounters series by Victoria Vale
Set against the glittering backdrop of Regency era London, this series follows the scandalous behavior of Lords and Ladies. Expected to act with decorum and discretion in public, their private lives were stepped in scandal!
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Get them HERE
Always For You (A Small Town Georgia Romance): Friends to lovers romance has never been hotter! Come back to Burton.
The Last One (A Small Town Georgia Romance): He didn't want her. She couldn't stand him. Love doesn't listen to logic.
When We Were Us (A Keeping Score Football Romance): Three friends. Two loves. One choice. All's fair in love and football.
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Experience Lili Von's The Sir & Madam Chronicles
Some FORCES just can't be denied...
Tender Forces: Cassidy Barron's divorce is final and now she's poised to start a new life a continent away. Cassidy shouldn't be surprised to see Ty Markson in the truck when her brother picks her up for a reunion with old friends at a civil war reenactment. What she doesn't know is that Ty has plans for her, and those plans are anything but gentlemanly.
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Have a steamy Christmas with these deals from Olivia Hardin:
The Meet the Rawleys. A continuing saga of love, life, family and friends...
All for Hope: Sometimes the safest distance between two hearts is no distance at all. Kidnapping a baby wasn’t something Hope ever dreamed she would do. But she’s been burned by the legal system before, so when the court places her friend’s child into the custody of an abuser, she takes matters into her own hands.
Get them HERE
Monday, November 21, 2016
Monday, November 14, 2016
Monday, November 7, 2016
Emily had been to the creek more often lately, and Isaack had followed her every time. He had no idea if she knew he was there or not, but he also knew she wasn’t daft. He told himself it was because her mother had asked him to watch out for her. It was for her protection from the men, the ones with the wrong intentions, like Abe, or Breck. But the truth was too hard to admit to himself.
Thursday, November 3, 2016
So yeah, I’m from Texas. But what does that mean really? Texas is a BIG place with pockets of very distinct culture and influence throughout. I’m from Southeast Texas, specifically what I grew up calling “The Golden Triangle.” I was born and raised in Port Arthur, one point on the triangle that includes Beaumont and Orange.
Want to learn a little about Southeast Texas? One of the things I do in almost ALL of my stories is include what I call “Trivia from Olivia.” See, I’m a history junkie and I just love giving folks a snippet of little-known facts to go along with my books. And since Texas is chalk full of interesting history, I have used the Lone Star state for quite a few of them. So, here are some of my favorites…
NUMBER ONE:All for Hope, the male MC loves to watch old movies, one of which is “High Noon” starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly. It just so happens that movie won an Oscar for Best Song in 1952. The song was performed by a western singer who grew up in Nederland, Texas (within the Golden Triangle). Maurice Woodward Ritter, better known as “Tex” Ritter, was a star of the “western” film songs in the 1940s and 50s. He was also the father of the late actor John Ritter!
NUMBER TWO:Next year I’m going to continue a series I started a while back called “The Urban Legends of Texas.” Dark Road Winding is one of the first books I actually set in Texas. I have a vague memory of driving Sara Jane Road in Port Neches when I was a teenager and looking for the hanging corpse of Sara Jane.
Most of the folks I’ve asked from the Golden Triangle recall different versions of the story at the center of Dark Road Winding. In 2007 the Port Arthur News ran an article about Sara Jane Road and reported that local historian and author W.T. Block’s mother was in fact Sarah Jane Sweeney Block. The facts of Mrs. Block’s life don’t actually mesh with the legends so it’s hard to know if she could have inspired the story.
NUMBER THREE:To this day my absolute favorite Trivia from Olivia is from the third book in my Lynlee Lincoln urban fantasy series. In the story Lynlee gets visited by brownies, little magical creatures, who warn her of danger. Just before the turn of the twentieth century a man by the name of Arthur Stilwell was in the process of building a railway to connect Kansas City to the Gulf of Mexico. His original plan was to purchase the Houston East and West Texas Railroad and then to create a port terminal in Galveston, Texas.
Stilwell’s plans changed when, as he recounts in his autobiography:
I was warned by my nightly advisors not to make Galveston the terminal of the Kansas City Southern Railroad, because that city was destined to be destroyed by a tidal wave.
You see Stilwell claimed that from about the age of four he received messages from spirits which he called “brownies.” As a child he would warn his mother that relatives would be visiting days before the persons would actually arrive. He also pointed out his future bride when he was just 14 years old and in fact within five years Jennie Wood became his wife.
As to the railroad, Stilwell said that the brownies advised him to end the railroad at Lake Sabine and to build the terminal at the site which is present day Port Arthur. He followed their instructions, “not deviating from the plans revealed.” Just five years later the hurricane of 1900 devastated Galveston Island, killing around 8,000 people.
On April 7, 1924 Time Magazine featured an article titled “Brownies” which related the guidance Stilwell received from his nightly visitors. Other authorities at the time, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, believed Stilwell might truly have been psychic. I even located for auction a copy of one of Doyle’s books which was inscribed: "Yours in the great cause of Spirit-/Arthur Conan Doyle,/May, 31/22”
So there you have it… a crash-course in Trivia from Olivia. If you’re interested in checking out my books, you can get most of the series starters free. Just check them out on my website www.olivia-hardin.com.
And if you sign up for my Newsletter you’ll get a FREE ebook too.
Monday, October 31, 2016
When Emily came bustling inside the barn, shaking the rain off her skirts, Isaack’s gaze snapped to her, along with every other man in the structure, with the exception of Saul, who snored in the corner.
Her wide brown eyes were the color of the richest mahogany, and her hair the color of spun gold with highlights of pale silk. She was tiny and trim, but exuded a strength that belied her stature. Freckles spread across her face from exposure to the sun like any hard working woman, but her smile was soft. And when she smiled, her face lit up like a child of the sun. Isaack would treasure his first waking memory in her barn, his fever-addled brain clutching to that smile like a life-line he’d long ago discarded.
Her murmured words in the barn, meant for his ears only, made him burn with need. He had to get her out of his head.
He hadn’t thought of romantic entanglements since his beloved Maria had died—hadn’t wanted to. He’d enlisted as soon as War broke out, selling his interests in the shipping business he had started with his friend, Albert. Albert had tried to keep him abreast of things, letting him know he could buy back in whenever he was ready to, but Isaack had been too intent on killing himself—taking the dangerous scouting missions, putting himself on the front lines, volunteering for every risky endeavor put in his path.
Thinking of the woman who wasn’t his wife.
Grudgingly, he walked up the steps and sat on the porch with Mrs. Evans. He couldn’t be rude to the woman who had opened his home to him, fed him, healed him. Not even if it meant he had to watch the woman who’d become the focus of an infatuation.
He longed for something like that. To clear out his insides and start fresh.