Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Recipes from Picture Perfect, Part 2

I sure hope y'all have had a chance to try out the seafood gumbo while listening to the playlist.

Are you ready to try more? C'est si bon, mes amis.

Picture Perfect

from Chapter 18

"One by one, the courses came. The warm winter salad, consisting of red-leaf lettuce and sliced mushrooms, olive oil, garlic, and lemon, preceded the main course of lobster stuffed with crabmeat. The food was fantastic, adding an extra sparkle to her evening. Elliot's transformation had Alex floating on a cloud. She laughed at the few silly jokes he loosened up enough to tell."

Warm Winter Salad

 1 large bag baby spinach
1 large head of red leaf lettuce
1 cup of sliced mushrooms
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1 lemon
Salt and peper to taste
Remove stems from spinach, then wash and drain it along with the red leaf lettuce. Once dry, place in bowl, squeeze lemon juice over the greens and set aside. Cut bell peppers in half, remove seeds, and wash. Afterwards, sliver the bell pepper into thin strips. Heat the olive oil and garlic. Add in mushrooms and saute. Add in peppers and mix. Keep over fire no more than one minute, only long enough to heat. Spoon mushroom/3 pepper combo over the greens. Serve warm.

Lobster Stuffed with Crabmeat

2     10 oz. whole lobsters
1 lb. jumbo lump crabmeat
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
3 tablespoons butter
Saute onion, garlic, and lemon juice in 2 tablespoons of butter. When seasoning is softened remove from heat. Carefully fold in crabmeat, being careful not to break the lumps. Set aside.
Drop lobsters into rapidly boiling salted water. Let boil ten minutes before removing. Split lobsters in half, lengthwise. Load crabmeat onto the 4 halves and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve hot.
That's it for now, y'all. Check back soon for more. Don't forget the week of June 23rd, Yvette Davis and I will be featuring dessert recipes, recipes for a drink or two, and other delicious dishes!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Recipes and Music Associated with #erotic romance Picture Perfect byLeslie C. Ferdinand

New Orleans is renowned for both her food and her music. In Picture Perfect, several dishes are mentioned, including gumbo. Over the next several days, I will post recipe(s) taken from the novel. The songs on the playlist were created as we discovered the characters' musical preferences. Elliot loves Classical Music while Alex is a huge fan of Prince. There's one particular song that is our stalwart matriarch's, Julia Walker, favorite. The other songs are listed because of an association with New Orleans and/or because of what we were thinking as we wrote a particular scene.

Sit back and enjoy.  Better yet, listen to the playlist as you prepare one of the dishes.

Chapter 45

"Sitting at the chef's table at the Seabreeze, Alex dipped her spoon into her bowl of gumbo and sipped it. Jade had come to the shop earlier and given her a good scolding for not answering her calls the past four days."

Shirley's Seafood Gumbo Recipe:

1 large onion
1/2 bell pepper
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup shallots
2 lbs medium shrimp
1 pint oysters
3 crabs, halved
1/2 lb jumbo lump crabmeat (picked for shells)
3 qts water
4 tbsp flour
Pepper and salt to taste

Add flour to heated cooking oil. Stir until flour turns brown (this is the roux). Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, shallots, parsley and bayleaf to dark roux. Cook seasoning until soft. Stir in water and let simmer for 15 minutes. Add shrimp and crab halves. Simmer 10 minutes more before adding in remaining ingredients. Salt and pepper to taste and serve over hot, white rice.

Note: Leslie adds cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes for a spicier gumbo.

Chapter 45

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Good Reviews, Bad Reviews...and Selling Out.

I read a post this morning before going to church and it really got to me. An author felt as if she had sold out by writing erotic romance. 

Oh, really? Are you kidding me?

Her other books, the ones that tanked and led to her great downfall, would benefit in the long run. The readers of her erotic romances would now buy the books she really wanted out there. In essence, she did what needed doing to get her true art, sold. She doubted, however, she would ever recoup all the money she had pumped into her masterpieces.

Hello...? Anybody home in there?

Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, yes? When those opinions apply to yourself and your life, you are even more entitled to them. Therefore, she passed her opinion about herself and her writing and announced to the world her erotic romances that have been praised made her a "sell out".

I began to wonder what made her go off on that tangent. Why would she consider herself a sell out and not a gifted writer with a God given talent? Why wouldn't she celebrate her ability to be able to find another genre she wrote so well in that she connected with a large readership? Perhaps, it is the half-full versus half-empty theory. Look at a glass as half full and you're putting a positive spin on things; when it is viewed as half-empty, it has negative connotations. To me, she insulted not only her readers but herself and her talent. My personal affront came when she referred to the Goodreads audience as mother effers. Wait, what? I'm not only a writer and a reader but a member of the Goodreads community and I take umbrage to being called an MF. There's no need to lash out if others are passing opinions on comments you put out there for the world to see. And it is definitely uncalled for to call people out of their names as you did.

As for you calling yourself a sell out. So be it. You're the one who has to look at yourself in the mirror every morning. Whether you see a sell out or a gifted writer is completely up to you. 

C'est la vie.

Tomorrow is release day for Picture Perfect and we are waiting with baited breath for the reviews to come in. We've had two so far and both had us jumping up and down in happiness. However, I'm bracing myself for the not-so-good reviews, too. Reviews are necessary. They can propel your mood to incredible heights and send you crashing back to earth in one day. The good ones urge you on and the less than stellar ones give you pause. They help you to learn and hone your writing skills. We, as writers, thrive on knowledge and new discoveries. An AHA moment where everything falls into place. I've discovered, over the years, it takes all types of reviews to sharpen your thinking and toughen your skin. Okay, I admit it, I might sniffle if a review attacks me as a writer, instead of the storyline, the characters, the pacing. Oh, all right. I'm caught.  YES, I sniffle at all of them.

Reviews are necessary. They allow other readers a glimpse into your story. I have read more than my fair share before I come to the end of a book, especially if they have spoilers and I'm at a point in a novel where I'm on pins and needles. It all started years ago when I read a book and three quarters into it when everything seemed to be going well for the H/h, the hero had sex in a garden with another woman and the heroine found them together. That was a nasty surprise and my heart broke for the heroine. Besides my being innately nosy, I didn't want that type of shock again.  

Reviews are necessary. They give credibility to your writing. I'm a wreck right now. I want nothing but glowing, four or five star ratings. In the real world, that just doesn't happen. What one reader finds brilliant, another will see as rubbish. As a writer, the very thought that someone might dislike your work as art is painful. . As a reader, I can relate. I've loved books others have hated and hated books others have loved. Sometimes, I can't even pinpoint the reason why I didn't like a book. I just didn't. The books I've had that experience with make me wonder about my reasons for not liking a book more than the books I can readily explain what made me dislike it.

Years ago, I would send a note of thanks to every reviewer (not reader, mind you) who took the time to read my books. Positive, negative, or somewhere in between, I thanked them. These people didn't have to read my book, after all. Nowadays, it is a no no to comment on someone's review of your book. So I don't. But, here, on my blog, I can thank each and every one of you. For better or for worse, you took the time to read my book and took more time to gather your thoughts and express your opinion. Thank you.

Now, someone, please send me a bottle of scotch to drink when I receive the not so good reviews and a bottle of champagne for the kick ass ones.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Picture Perfect SPICY excerpt ISBN: 9781931761222, a Liquid SilverBooks release, 5/20/2013

“Elliot,” she moaned, a plea and an encouragement.
He took her mouth again. To cover her words and stop himself from losing his sanity and plunging into her without heed. His mouth sipped from hers, caressing her depths, swallowing her moans. He trailed his fingers down her belly, dipped into the indentation of her navel, and glided through the soft curls at the juncture of her thighs. Her legs bent at the knees, spread open, widened when his fingers touched her hot, wet core. He closed his eyes, the feel of her juices slipping down his fingers maddening. He found her clitoris, teased and circled a finger around the swollen nub. Caressed her soft wet folds. Her lips skimmed his jawline, the column of his neck, the pulse point there.
“I love your cologne,” she said on a deep intake of breath, licking the spot where he always dabbed some. “Since the moment I met you, this scent has driven me wild.”
Her tongue caressed that spot again, and his body jerked, sensitized to her, her touch.
“Made me want to bury my face in the crook of your neck.” Which she did and pressed another kiss to the spot. “Made me want to taste you and lick you and suck you.”
“Goddamn!” he muttered, hoarse, guttural, her velvet softness hotter, wetter against his fingers.
Her hands roamed over his chest, circled his nipples, brushed against his abdomen. Closed around his straining length.
“You’re so big,” she murmured against his neck, her fingers stroking his cock. “Will it fit into my mouth?”
Her mouth? “Sonofabitch.”
He pumped against her hand, felt the beads of moisture seep from the tip of him. “You can’t—” He began on a strangled moan.
“You tasted me. I want to taste you. Don’t tell me no. Please?” she whispered.
Tell her no? The thought just processed before her lips trailed down his body, her silky tresses trailing along with her, tickling and tormenting him.
Her tongue dragged across the swollen head of his length, tasted the pre-cum. Sensation streaked along his nerve endings, tore through his brain, his heart. He forced his gaze to her, forced the words to form that would tell her to stop. Her gray gaze, burning molten silver, met his. Her lips stretched around the length of him. His cock jerked, surged halfway into her mouth, against her throat. His breath came in short gasps, and her mouth began to move against him, the flat of her tongue stroking the underside of his flesh. His hips moved to the rhythm of her bobbing head. Her wild mass of hair fanned against her cheeks, trailed along his thighs. She raised her head, stared at him, and allowed the tip of her tongue to dip into his slit, drawing beads of seed from him.
“You taste delicious,” she whispered, closing her mouth around him and sucking hard.
Pleasure exploded in him, and, instead of pulling her head away, he buried his hands in her hair and held her against him. She sucked again, and his hands twisted in her hair, a hoarse groan escaping his lips. Her tongue slid along his hot length, soothing his raging turmoil, allowing him a measure of control. A moment of sanity. He drew in a breath and loosened his grip on her. “I’m close to coming.” He managed to push the words out, but damned his honor. “Stop this now.”
“I came in your mouth.” She dipped her head again and drew so hard on him he wrenched her hair as his balls tightened. His seed gushed from him and into her mouth. He shouted, called her name as she sucked him without mercy, drinking every drop of him.
He released his grip on her hair, his heart hammering, his body weightless. Her lips were at his neck again. Tasting the cologne she said drove her wild. The cologne he’d keep stocked by the gallons.
He adjusted his hold on her, flipping her onto her back. He stared down at her in wonder.
She rubbed her hand along the contours of his face, adoration on her own. “I wanted to make you feel good. Give you the pleasure you gave me.”
Her soft words, her sweet touch, humbled him. Touched something deep within him. He closed his eyes and leaned into her touch, breathing in the scent of her desire, his own desire.
Elliot slid his knuckles along her cheek, trailing his touch down her body until he reached her hot sheath. He groaned at Alexis’ mewl of satisfaction. She arched into his hand, her pubic hair tickling his palm. His thumb pressed against the glistening pearl hidden between her folds, and she rocked her hips to his probing touch, bringing his mouth to hers and swallowing her gasp. His thumb continued to manipulate her clitoris, his mouth mating with hers, showing her what he intended to do with her body.
Her sighs and the rocking of her hips almost unmanned him. Blood swelled his length once again, thickening him near to bursting. Her breath came in short gasps, her juices dripping from her. He pulled his mouth from hers, glided his lips down the column of her throat, which she bared to him as she threw her head back. His path continued between the valley of her breasts, down her flat belly. He brushed kisses along her mound, until his seeking mouth found her liquid center.
Still pressing his thumb against her nub of pulsating nerves, he tongued her. Quivers arced through her loins and against his mouth.
“Elliot!” she groaned.
“You like it when I tongue your clit?” he demanded and lapped her, her scent and taste driving him mad.
She whimpered, her body shaking, her slick heat coating his lips, a little more of her cream seeping from her at his words. She rolled her hips against his mouth.
“I could lick you for hours,” he admitted, spearing his tongue into her and out again. “Do you like my mouth on you?” Her moans filled his head, the taste of her spicy musk tormenting him. “I want to know. Tell me.”
“Y-yes,” she gasped, straining to push against his mouth again. “I like it.”
“You like what?” he asked, punctuated by a long, slow lick. “Tell me what you like.”
She whimpered again, clutched the sheets, and arched her hips toward him in a helpless gesture.
“Don’t be afraid to tell me what you want. I like your mouth on my cock.” He slipped a finger into her narrow channel, stroking, meeting the barrier of her innocence. She moaned, grew wetter. “Is my hand enough for you until I join with you?” he asked, knowing it wasn’t, wondering how he’d not spend himself then and there.
“N-no,” she whimpered, her peak near, at the edge. He had only to manipulate his finger inside her a little more. Stroke her core. Lick her clitoris. “I want … I want your mouth,” she cried, parting her legs farther, exposed and open to him, rocking against his fingers. “Lick me.” Her fingers pulled her taut nipples. “T-tongue my clit.”                                                              


Until next time! Smooches.


Friday, May 17, 2013

Dueling With Katrina

Picture Perfect will be released Monday....Yeah, BABY!!! As explained on the FAQ page, we fictionalized some personal experiences. Just like our heroine, Alex, we dueled with Katrina, and won.

We have had so many awful tragedies since August 29, 2005. Below is a small insight into what I went through and what makes having Picture Perfect published such a triumph for my mom and I.

August 28, 2005-Darkness surrounded me and it felt like we were the only people left in the world. We had dense trees on each side of the two-lane road I drove on. Any moment, I expected a wild creature to dash in front of the car. I wondered if I would swerve to try to avoid it--and thus endanger us--or if I could keep going. I knew me so I knew if an animal ran into the road, my instinct would be to swerve. I started to cry, pray the words Please don't let us die and alternate with the chant This is the night I die. This is the night I crash our car with my mom and my three daughters.

I'd been driving since 6:00AM that morning. I hadn't wanted to leave New Orleans. We'd left the year before for Ivan and it had been a false alarm. I wanted Zoey, Katie, and my mom to go. I would be fine with our dogs and Alegra. Both my mother and Zoey begged me to leave, so there I was at 10PM driving through Kisatchie National Forest. We were backtracking because I couldn't make it all the way to Terrell, TX, our ultimate destination. By 8PM, I was stopping at motels while my mom called around. Everything was filled to capacity. We finally got lucky. The clerk told us we were an hour away. We probably had been, but I get lost very easily. That night was no different.

The last time I stopped and got out, I almost dropped to the ground from pain and exhaustion. I'd had a C-Section 13 days earlier and had been out of the hospital eight days. I had three very difficult pregnancies. During my first pregnancy, when I was 24, I had to remain in bed for 18 weeks. This time around, I drove myself to the hospital because I thought I was going to be sent home and I didn't want to disturb anyone for a false alarm at 5AM. My doctor wasn't pleased. She'd intended to induce labor on 8/25 because I have slight leakage with the mitral valve prolapse and she was concerned the leakage would rupture. That, I am quite happy to say, didn't happen. Circulation in both my legs stopped, however, and Alegra was born with her oxygen level at 80%.

Given alllllll of that, and the fact we wouldn't have room for the dogs, and the fact I would have to drive, I really, really, REALLY didn't want to evacuate. Since we thought most of our family would remain in New Orleans, we left on our own. That left me to get us all safely evacuated. I thought it was bitter irony we were fleeing a storm and would die on a road. I held all my fears in until Zoey, three days away from her 8th birthday, finally fell asleep. My mom told me to keep going. I would be fine. WE would be fine. She said I had a team of Guardian Angels and I'd kept them working overtime for years. Not only with things like heart failure and blood clots but with car accidents and partying. She promised me they weren't going to desert me now.

When we arrived at the motel, I got my girls inside and nursed Alegra. Once they were settled in, I showed my mom the reason for the extra pain. About an inch of my incision opened due to a stitch coming apart and blood had seaped out. My shirt was stuck to my skin.

The next morning was a beautiful, bright day. We heard on the radio the stormed missed New Orleans. A two-ton weight lifted and instead of keeping the radio on, I popped in a CD. I'd lived in the house I left behind my entire life. It was MY house, meaning the original owner decided to bequeath it to me when I was 4 years old. Her lawyer, however, advised her to put it into my mother's name and it had remained in her name until 2002. It was a duplex. Since my grandmother lived in the upstairs house, I remained downstairs. Though everyone thought I lived with my mother, she, in fact, lived with ME, and my house was safe. Katrina hadn't hit New Orleans. My heart still dropped, though, because I knew it devastated and obliterated other places. I was shivering. Not from cold, though. We debated on heading back home or continuing on to Terrell. Since our friend made gumbo for us and we were closer to Terrell, we decided to go there. When we walked into her house, my mom announced, we would stay the night and then we were going home. Her words: Going back to what? New Orleans is gone. Everything is under water. One of the first images I saw on CNN was the Circle Food Store on Claiborne and St. Bernard. One of the first things that went through my mind was my Uncle Craig and Aunt Wanda and my Uncle Blaise and Aunt Janice. I knew my Aunt Betty, my grandmother and some of my cousins were leaving. I thought about my Aunt Diane and Uncle Elwood and those cousins. I thought my Uncle Michael and Uncle Dude and T-Joyce had evacuated. Then there were our friends. We couldn't get through to anyone, so we didn't know what had happened. And, then, I remembered my dog and Zoey's dog. I remember doing an inventory of what we had with us and that was two days worth of clothes for all of us and about $6.00 to our names.

Mikos drowned in the storm. Gigi survived. I developed an infection in the incision. Our family ended up in the Houston area and, on November 6th (my mom's 69th birthday) we arrived in the area, too. I called the LASPCA and reported both of the dogs. They took our address but couldn't get to them until 9/22. I found Gigi online. Petfinders.com listed all the animals who had been rescued.

Zoey and I drove to New Orleans two weeks after we moved to Greater Houston. Like Alex in Picture Perfect, we find a city in ruin. It was desolate. It was deserted. It was like Armageddon. The water damaged the downstairs portion of the house and the wind damaged the upstairs. The house was gone.

Zoey and I were later diagnosed with Katrina-related Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. She was afraid to go to school because she didn't want to leave me and she didn't want to be out in rain. Now, she can dance in the rain. She's a survivor. Mine went a little deeper because I couldn't forget that overwhelming darkness and the fear we were all going to die on that road. Too, I annoyed many people because I couldn't go out in the rain, either. I had nightmares of being washed away in a flood and I had images of driving in the rain and being swept away. When the thunderstorm took place in Picture Perfect, Alex's reaction was what I'd lived through and what I, myself, did.

Life goes on, though, and you either rise to the occasion or remain in a mire. We started writing again in 2007--the end result being Picture Perfect. I founded a magazine I was very proud of--the end result losing the magazine and the land the house once stood on. We have another house. God blessed us with a beautiful, new home. When I lost the magazine due to my own ignorance of running a business and the devastating recession, we almost lost everything else.

Today, in 2013, I, too, can dance in the rain. Let me amend that :-) I can dance in rain that isn't too torrential. More importantly, I can DRIVE again in the rain.

Katrina took much away from us and thousands of others. Faith that a better day is coming keeps us fighting. The great State of Texas has been wonderful to us. I miss home, though. and pray that, one day, I'll have another home there.Even if it isn't to live full-time. It'll be different. Not only because Katrina forever changed New Orleans, but because I won't ever live on Senate Street again.

Change, however, is inevitable. That is the fluidity and the beauty of life.
                                          From L-R: Katie, Alegra, Leslie, and Gigi. 2013

I wish you Peace, Love, and Happiness.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Time Flies

Time stands still for no one. As much as I try to become organized enough to create a workable schedule, time gets away from me. One goal has been to post to my blog on a regular basis. That doesn't seem to be happening. There's an end in sight and it is called SCHOOL BREAK. Yay! I'm doing a happy dance. Summer recess officially begins on 6/6, so I can put away my learning coach/homeschool teach for nine or ten weeks. Monday, May 6th is a big day for me. It heralds two weeks until Picture Perfect's release day and 4 weeks until school ends. I see a light at the end of a tunnel and a glass of champagne in my future. :-)

I've been blessed with very talented graphic designers for my covers: Clevell Harris for Wicked Allure, Crystal Cuffley for Wicked Addiction and Dawn Seewer for Picture Perfect.  My latest cover is gorgeous, dontcha think?

Available for Pre-order at a 20% discount
Until next time! Peace, love and happiness.

BTSeMag April and May 2013

May 2013 BTSeMag
April 2013 BTSeMag