Spring has Sprung…finally, Winner Announcements and the Week Ahead in Reviews, Contests, and Author Guest Blogs

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Well, I am almost afraid to say it….maybe Spring has finally arrived here in the DC Metro area. Shhhhhh! Not too loud.  I hate to be superstitious but  lately it seems like the sleet, or snow is just hovering at the edges threatening to make a reappearance and coat everything in white instead of cherry blossoms.  So I am going to tiptoe around the fact that I got out in the yard for the first time to start my garden cleanup and to check out if any brave little sprouts had made it above ground.  The irises have poked out, so have the autumn sedum…plucky souls that they are.  The maple trees are in flower and the squirrels are taking full advantage by littering the yard with all the flowers and twigs they have snipped off to get at the maple sap.  Oh that maple sap….the first run is so sweet, like a cold drink of water with a hint of sugar……that if boiled down becomes that golden wonder maple syrup.maple trees tapped

At this time of year (ok earlier in March but not this year), I used to give maple sugaring demonstrations to the public.  I would be boiling gallons of sap that I started to collect in January and stored until March from trees along the stream banks where the old mature red and sugar maples stood.  I would let the kids watch me tap a tree and, if lucky, watch the maple syrup evaporatorsap start to run out the hole immediately to their awe and wonder.  Then over to the evaporator and the wood fire that constantly burned cooking away the water and reducing the sap to syrup.  It’s quite a laborous process which is one of the reasons that the price for maple syrup runs so high.  I would tap red and silver maples native to Maryland, sugar maples that had been planted for their color and even boxelders that make a strong hearty syrup, each species of tree giving the syrup its own unique taste.  I would even order some Alaska Birch syrup to give everyone a taste of that regionally strong and robust syrup, my that’s an  acquired taste.

In New England they don’t start this process until April because of their winters and this year Maryland is right along with them due to our unusually harsh and lingering  winter.  How I loved introducing people who have grown up on Log Cabin or Mrs. Butterworth’s to the real thing!  That never gets old.  I love the natural history and the cultural history to making maple syrup.  It keeps me in touch with the past, it makes me appreciate the changing of the seasons and the bounty of nature.  And what it can do to a stack of blueberry pancakes is out of thismaply syrup world….

So yeah….Spring is here.  The maple trees in flower and the squirrels gnawing the heck out of them for the sweet sap tells me so.  And now I feel the need to go make some flapjacks.  With butter.  And real maple syrup of course!

Winner Announcements! The winner of Katey Hawthorne’s Book Contest is Alishead1.  Congratulations to Alishead1.
Leah Karge is the winner of the When All the World Sleeps blog tour. Congratulations to Leah too! Thanks to everyone who left comments.  Your participation is always appreciated. The winners have been notified.

Oh, and happy 5th Anniversay to Less Than Three Press, congratulations to you too.

While I am making breakfast, here is the schedule for the week ahead:

  •  Monday, April 7:    The Calm Before by Neena Jayden
  • Tuesday, April 8:     The Forester II: Lost and Found by Blaine D. Arden
  • Wed, April 9:             Author Spotlight: Blaine D. Arden (and Book Giveaway)
  • Thurday, April 10:    In Distress by Katey Hawthorne
  • Friday, April 11:        Controlled Burn by Laura Harner
  •  ***************        Cold Comfort by Lee Brazil
  • Saturday, April 12:    Every Time I Think of You by Jim Provenzano

A Very Special Book and the Week Ahead in Reviews, Author Spotlights and Contests

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Grand Adventures Anthology

On  Monday, March 31st, Dreamspinner Press is releasing a very special anthology titled Grand Adventures.  All proceeds from the sale of Grand Adventures will go to TJ Klune and Eric Arden, who are starting off on another stage in their adventure together. Eric is being released from the hospital and both men will move into their new house, although under circumstances neither one would have ever imagined.  These men are my heroes.  Their bravery and courage is amazing as is their love for each other.

So many great authors have lent their talents and stories to this anthology. In addition, the cover by Paul Richmond, which is beyond amazing,( that’s Eric and TJ in the rearview mirror) is being offered up in two sizes of prints for a limited time.  I have included the link to that information as well.

Whether you know TJ and Eric personally, or from their hilarious vids, or their books, so many people have been touched by their talent, their outsized warm personalities and their amazing love story.  And they need our help. Donations are still being taken at the Eric Arvin support fund linked on this website but here is another great way to contribute and you get wonderful stories to boot!

On September 1, 2011, TJ Klune wrote, “…it’s not about the ending, it’s about the journey…” in a review of Eric Arvin’s Woke Up in a Strange Place. With those words, two men began a journey of love and invited us to ride along. TJ and Eric have shared so much with us: their wonderful books, their smiles, their humor, their lives, and their inspiring devotion to each other. In December of 2013, their journey took a detour when Eric was taken to the emergency room. He survived the surgery to remove a cavernous hemangioma from his brain stem, but the challenges TJ and Eric face are far from over.

The authors in this anthology donated their talent as a way to support Eric’s continued recovery, to help bring strength to TJ, and to show both of them just how much love surrounds them. Grand Adventures is a diverse range of stories about the journey of love. We’re going on some grand adventures for a great cause. Thank you for joining us.GrandAdventuresPrints_DSPsite

One hundred percent of the income from this volume goes directly to TJ and Eric Buy it here at Dreamspinner Press.

  • Prints of the cover are available until April 30th in 2 sizes, buy linkhere

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Now for this week’s schedule of reviews, author guest blogs and contests:

  • Monday, March 24:            Angel’s Hero by Liz Boreno
  • Tuesday, March 25:           Author Spotlight and Contest with Katey Hawthorne
  • Wed., March 26:                 When All the World Sleeps Book Tour and Contest
  •                                                    with Lisa Henry and JA Rock
  • Thursday, March 27:        Artist’s Touch (Guild #1) by Kerry Adrienne
  • Friday, March 28:              Cut & Run with Abigail Roux on the Ball & Chain Book Tour
  •                                                     and Contest (Ty and Zane are back!)
  • Saturday, March 29:         Ball & Chain by Abigail Roux