A year or so later…
Hello! It’s been a minute, yeah? Depression and a global pandemic stopped this girl from writing romance. Instead, I was working on my passion project – a book about my brother Scott. More on that in another post, but if you want the skinny head over to my other website where I share all the details (and more!).
I’m back to writing. My first anthology in a long time doesn’t have a romance in it from me – instead it’s a dark paranormal story called The Witches’ Revenge.
The Soul Retrieval anthology is available for preorder – check it out! It’s available wherever you get your digital reading material. 11 authors exploring all your darkest paranormal dreams and showing you theirs. Join them on their journeys to the other side of reality.
Here’s a little bit of the story…a “sneak peak” if you will…
Present Day – The Storyteller
The college kids settled around the last bonfire on the beach before the new school year started, waiting for her to begin. The sun wasn’t quite down yet, and the sand still held the heat of the day. The waves added music to the evening.
Amarie smiled. They were all so young. Hopefully they’d learn something tonight that could save them in the future.
“Does everyone have snacks and beverages? Has everyone made a restroom stop? Because once this story starts, no one will want to leave before it ends.”
Brand grinned and lifted his beer. “We’re all good, Amarie.”
“You all know who I am,” she began.
“The Ageless Witch of the Beach!” someone yelled, laughing, and others hushed them.
“Ah, yes. The Witch of the Beach. I’m also your unofficial counselor. Your tarot card reader. Your truthteller.” Amarie settled more definitely on her pillows, crossed her legs, and set her hands on her knees. “I’m the one you come to when you know your friends are unable to help you, you don’t dare call the police, and you can’t bear to talk to your parents.”
At those words, a chill shivered through the crowd. Brand fed another log on the fire, and anticipation rose.
“Tonight, I am going to tell you the story of the Man of Three Faces.” She looked around. “You might have heard of him by another name, but we shall call him Trey, for he was the third of his name, and was very proud of being third but at the same time, chafed at what he perceived as neglect by his wealthy parents. So much so that he moved away right out of high school, refusing all help, and eventually lost touch with them. When our story starts, he no longer knew where they lived or what their phone numbers might be. All he was certain of was the amount deposited in his account each month from his trust fund.”
A girl’s voice piped up. “Isn’t he the one who…”
Amarie smiled. “Many of you know only part of the story. Some of you know absolutely nothing of the story. I am one of the few who know the whole story, and I’m about to spill all the secrets this summer night. I’m going to have to condense it some, as it spans years. Are you ready?”
At the murmured assent, she took a breath.
“Once upon a time, there was a woman. There was Trey. And there was a chain of events that put these two together. There was another man, as well, who comes into play in our story, but this story is not a romance.
“The woman was called Grace Thompson. She worked from home in data processing, data analysis, and transcription for authors. She had very little interaction with the public, but she was well paid and enjoyed her work.
“Which was perfectly fine, you see, because she did not trust people. She did not trust her own intuition either, so she was working on honing that part of herself. In fact, she was training herself in works of magic and divination, spell casting and tarot reading, for the sole purpose of feeling more comfortable within herself and while dealing with other people. She wasn’t a joiner, but she did join a small coven in order to learn from a person, rather than books.”
“Then one day,” Amarie continued, her voice deepening, “she received an email containing an audio file to transcribe that both disturbed and called to her, in a quite specific way. This is what happened.”
Thank you for reading! I hope you pick up the anthology and finish out the story. Find out what happens to Grace and Trey.
October, November, December…and then 2018 is a memory.
This is the time of year where I try to wind up all my projects, and leave myself at least a portion of December to breathe, grow, rest. To refill my mental, emotional, spiritual wells, so that I can enter into the following year with a sense of grace, balance, and a plan.
That the plan always gets derailed, or goes sideways at some point, doesn’t matter as much as actually making the plan.
Right now, October is about both endings and beginnings. I’m wrapping up a novel – this one will be out in December, in the Rite to Reign box set (only $0.99!). Pre-order it here.
Then, from October 17 – 21, I’ll be in the Tampa, Florida area for Autumn Meet. I’ll be giving three talks – one on Meditation with Tarot, one on my brother, Scott Cunningham, and one on Writing the Paranormal Romance. It should be fun, and I’m so looking forward to unplugging for five days! If you’re in the Tampa area, check it out – I’d love to meet you.
After I get back from Tampa, I’ll dive into first round edits. November will bring second round edits, and also it’s National Novel Writing Month. I *think* I’m going to participate this year. We’ll see…I have lots of thoughts brewing about my direction for 2019 that didn’t look like this a week ago! Oh…and I’m hosting Thanksgiving for the family this year, which means massive housecleaning starts yesterday.
And December brings the holidays, and a vacation. This year, the hubby and I are planning a stay-cation, and we’re going to play tourist in Los Angeles. Quality time with my man…a lovely way to wrap up the year.
One of my goals for the rest of this year is to blog more. I’ve been putting my thoughts on FB, but I think it’s time to move back to the blog.
The year is winding down, the season is changing. Pumpkin spice fills the air (not my favorite, but that’s fine) and in Los Angeles, we’re hoping for a wet winter. The days are getting shorter and that’s just the cycle of this planet we’re on. In due time, the light will return; but for now? Take a rest. Wind down your projects. Find time to rest, recharge, relax.
Sending you love and hugs, always.
I was discussing, on Facebook this past week, the fact that I couldn’t find my favorite cassoulet recipe. My husband, bless him, dug through my many cookbooks and a three-inch, 3-ring binder of recipes, and found it for me. As several people wanted a copy of the recipe, I decided to put it here. Enjoy!
Christine’s Cassoulet – Made on November 4, 2017
This recipe is an amalgamation of what I remember from the Food & Wine version, and from a version that I found on the Internet in September 2004, on a website that no longer exists (yes, we checked). My husband found the printed version after I bemoaned the fact that I couldn’t find my original F&W recipe. However, I love this one, as it sticks close to the F&W recipe. I’ve made several changes, as noted.
Time: 30-45 minutes preparation time. At least 8 hours in a crock pot on low.
Servings: At least 8, possibly 10. It’s a terrific wintertime meal with good friends. Just pair with a crusty French bread and a good red wine, and you’ll have a meal that will make memories.
½ pound small white navy beans (can substitute 2 cans white beans if you forget to buy the navy beans…which I have).
4+ cloves garlic, peeled and crushed, plus 2+ cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, cut into chunks or rounds, as you prefer
2 cups cored and chopped tomatoes, with their juices, or canned diced tomatoes
3 or 4 sprigs fresh thyme, or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
2 – 3 bay leaves
¼ pound salt pork in 1 piece
Note: If you can’t find salt pork, use ¼ pound whole slab bacon. If you can’t find that, use 5 or 6 bacon slices.
4 sausages I’ve used sweet Italian, or chicken apple sausages – you can also use spicy Italian if that’s your style
1 pound boneless pork – shoulder, boneless rib meat, pork chops (whatever you can find)
1 turkey leg (or 2 duck legs, if you can find them, or 4 chicken legs)
½ pound any type of good beef steak (or stew meat)
Note: The second or third time I made this, I forgot what type of meat I needed to put into the cassoulet, and bought a steak. After I got home I realized it didn’t call for steak – but I used it anyway, and I find it gives the whole dish an added boost of flavor.
Chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, or water, or a mixture, as needed…probably 4 – 6 cups
Salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
Fresh chopped parsley for garnish
Chop all veggies.
Brown all meats (including the salt pork) in a large skillet and transfer them to the crock pot.
Add crushed garlic, chopped onions, and chopped carrots into the crock pot. Add beans, tomatoes, thyme, and bay leaves.
Add stock mixture to cover by 2 inches, IF possible, as your large crock pot will be full. Cover, and cook on low for 8 hours (high for 5 hours). Don’t feel like you have to be home the entire time – go out! Have fun! Enjoy! When you get home, your kitchen will smell like heaven, I promise you!
<– I like adding 1/2 chicken bone broth, and 1/2 beef bone broth.
Note: Most cassoulet recipes that I’ve found have you leave all the meats whole when serving. When I first made this recipe in the late 1990s, I had two boys who were under the age of 10. Leaving anything whole, in a hot broth, was not practical. Therefore…
After 8 hours, when the meat is falling off the bone of the turkey leg, pull all the meats out of the crockpot and let cool enough to touch, while setting the crockpot to “Warm.” Once the meat is cool, shred the meat, extracting any fat and bones, and put all the meat back into the crockpot. Feel free to give the extra fats and skins to the dog. He’ll thank you for it.
Taste the broth – it should be rich and meaty, and need little extra seasoning. However, add the reserved minced garlic, and S&P to taste if needed (this one didn’t). Keep on warm until you’re ready to eat.
Note: The French typically put a breadcrumb crust on this. I never have, and I’ve never missed it. But if you wish, by all means, please do!
Note: This recipe can also be made in a Dutch oven; do everything in one pot, including sautéing the onions and carrots and garlic in the fat left behind by browning the meats. Cover with stock by 2 inches; cook on low for at least 5 hours. Check to see if the meat is falling off the bone before you take it off the heat.
It’s true! Guarded Star, the first full-length book in the StarTide Agency series with Boroughs Publishing Group, is on sale for the ENTIRE month of May across ALL platforms!
Bestselling author Louisa Bacio said this: “Guard your heart because Christine Ashworth has done it again. Despite all their differences, Evie and Jake share combustible chemistry, and a past that won’t stay behind. You’ll enjoy the sweet music of this romance.”
Singer/songwriter Evie Marcherand is about to begin her first three-city tour when someone threatens to stop her music—permanently. Private investigator Jake Wells is about to give up his vacation—and his heart—to see that doesn’t happen.
MAKE A WISH
Everyone leaves twenty-five-year-old Evie Marcherand, but with her naturally husky voice and musical talent she’s done okay, and her star is rising. Her songs and her guitar? Those she can count on. She’s just booked her first three-city tour. Too bad someone else wants to stop her music. Permanently.
Jake Wells. 39. Private investigator. Tall and lanky, with brown hair that’s going silver at his temples. What does he want? To go on vacation. But with four younger sisters, “protective” doesn’t begin to describe him, so a promise to a dead man means he’ll play bodyguard instead. Threats of violence against an up-and-coming singer/songwriter have been escalating, and there’s just no way that’s going to happen. But after he gets a taste of Evie’s music—and her lips—there’s no saying what will.
Find Guarded Star here: (sorry, I couldn’t figure out how to copy the link to iBooks! sigh.)
Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble,
There’s been a lot of personal turmoil in my life, and I haven’t been here very much at all. I aim to change that. As well, I have a newsletter that was sent out today for the very first time. If you read that newsletter and are here because of the super sekrit contest, then you know what to do. *vbg*
If you aren’t on my newsletter list but want to be (freebies, etc), leave a comment here with your email address and I will add you to the list. Right now, I have no idea how many I’ll be sending out, but I swear unless I have amazing news or giveaways, it won’t be more than once a month, and probably a lot less.
A huge thank you to Boroughs Publishing Group who have worked with me on this promotion. Another huge thank you to Rebecca Hamilton, and to all the friends and family who have been there for me during a really rough patch. Sending love to all.
Now…go on and grab Guarded Star! You know you want to…