Monday, December 4, 2017

Monday Morning's Menu: Talk Turkey by Bru Baker

Carson is a California transplant settling into life in the Windy City. On his first Christmas away from home, he assures his worried family he’ll be having a real Christmas dinner.

Recent culinary school graduate Tom Stockton earns some extra money giving out cooking advice at the Talk Turkey hotline. Tom’s honeyed voice and sharp sense of humor are attractive to the lonely Carson, and Carson finds reasons to call the hotline again and again. But on Christmas Eve, Carson’s call is less playful and more panicked with the big meal looming. Carson is just looking for advice, but Tom has a surprise in store that might lead to much more.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2015 Advent Calendar package "Sleigh Ride".

Who knew a call to one of those turkey hotlines that are hyped around Thanksgiving could lead to romance?  Carson has just moved to Chicago, not even unpacked properly yet and he promises his mother to cook a Christmas dinner since he can't be home with the family.  When Tom answered the turkey hotline that day, he had no idea the voice on the other end would be life-changing.

Bru Baker's Talk Turkey was originally published as part of Dreamspinner's annual Advent Calendar in 2015 but somehow escaped my reading until now.  Personally, as someone who has cooked more Thanksgiving turkeys than I care to remember, I could never understand how so many people have no clue how to do so but then I remember my first one was under the watchful eye of my grandmother and my mom was only a phone call away.  Miss Baker takes an average holiday tradition that many partake in and gives it a creative spin that leaves you laughing, smiling, and rooting for Carson.  I was rooting for Tom as well and for the pair to unite but Talk Turkey is basically Carson's journey of first time holiday cooking and you can't help but want to wrap him in bubblewrap and say "let me do it for you".

Talk Turkey is a wonderful holiday novella that makes a great appetizer for the season.  Whether you read it now or in the middle of a summer heatwave will make no difference because it has everything, well its pretty light on drama but its definitely high on fun, flirty romance, comedy, and plenty of heart.


IT COULDN’T be that difficult. People had been doing it for centuries. Longer, even. Man had probably started roasting turkeys over the fire as soon as someone realized the ugly buggers were edible.

Not that the pristinely wrapped turkeys in front of him bore any resemblance to the sort of turkeys he was used to seeing. These weren’t crispy-skinned and steaming, with drumsticks and wings held aloft with string, ready-to-be-carved turkeys. They were vaguely ovoid-shaped and covered in bright yellow netting that didn’t look the slightest bit appetizing.

Did he need a turkey with a timer in it? How would that even work? Wasn’t that what a meat thermometer was for?

Carson paced in front of the display. What size did he need? They seemed to range from big to enormous, and they’d always gotten two of the enormous ones at home. But had they come from the grocery store? He didn’t remember. Turkeys always just appeared in his parents’ refrigerator a few days before Thanksgiving and Christmas. Now that he was thinking about it, none of the turkeys had ever had the weird netting stuff on them. Did that mean he was in the wrong place? Where else could you buy a turkey?

Carson sighed and fidgeted with the phone in his hand. He could solve this easily by calling his mom. One little phone call and he’d know exactly what size to get and what to do with it. But then she’d be worried about him spending Christmas Day alone, and that was the whole reason for being in the turkey aisle in the first place.

Moving a few days after Thanksgiving had been a stupid idea. Now he was stuck all the way across the country, too new in his job to take time off to go home to celebrate with his family like he usually did. And his mother was leaking anxiety all over her e-mails and Skypes, even though Carson could tell she was trying hard not to.

He was a grown man, for God’s sake. Why did it matter if he was spending a holiday alone eating a Hungry-Man dinner? Sure, it wasn’t ideal, but he’d been in Chicago less than a month. He didn’t have any friends to speak of, and all of his family was on the West Coast. He expected he’d have a few rough times, and this was just one of them.

But she’d been so happy when he’d told her he had plans for Christmas. He’d hedged and avoided outright lying when she asked who they were with, making noncommittal sounds as she made assumptions about coworkers and neighbors and all these friends she seemed to think he was making. In reality, his plans involved Netflix and something he could microwave. But then she’d started sending him recipes and Pinterest boards about holiday decorations, and it had all spiraled out of control.

It was tempting to just snatch a picture off the Internet and send her that, but she was surprisingly computer literate these days, and there was a not insignificant chance he’d be found out.

So here he was, standing in front of a daunting display of turkeys in Safeway because his mother had made him promise he’d send her a picture of the turkey he was making.

Damn it all.

Author Bio:
Bru Baker got her first taste of life as a writer at the tender age of four when she started publishing a weekly newspaper for her family. What they called nosiness she called a nose for news, and no one was surprised when she ended up with degrees in journalism and political science and started a career in journalism.

Bru spent fifteen years writing for newspapers before making the jump to fiction. She now works in reference and readers' advisory in a Midwestern library, though she still finds it hard to believe someone's willing to pay her to talk about books all day. Most evenings you can find her curled up with a mug of tea, some fuzzy socks, and a book or her laptop. Whether it’s creating her own characters or getting caught up in someone else’s, there’s no denying that Bru is happiest when she’s engrossed in a story. She and her husband have two children, which means a lot of her books get written from the sidelines of various sports practices.



Release Blitz: Storm Warnings by Marissa Storm

Title: Storm Warnings
Author: Marissa Storm
Series: Storm of Love #1
Genre: Christian Romance
Release Date: November 30, 2017
Liz was an ordinary housewife and mother, with secrets in her past. When trauma hits her family, her past comes home and she is face to face with the love of her life that she thought she had lost forever. Does Liz dare to tell Tom he is her child's father? Did she dare tell her daughter?

Tom had no idea he had a daughter. He is completely stunned to learn the whole truth that tore the two of them apart so many years ago. Even though he had moved on, he never forgot Liz or the love they shared. Their love is rekindled against all odds. But will fate be kind this time?

Tammy, Tom's wife, was killed in an earthquake; or was she? After over a year passes, someone claiming to be Tammy finds Tom online. Could this really be Tammy?

I finally realized it was emergency flashers on a car. Now the question was, Where exactly were those flashers? Was the car sitting off on the shoulder or on the road? I couldn’t see much myself.

Mike slowed down as we approached the vehicle. When we got closer, I saw the driver, a dark-haired man, maybe in his thirties, slumped over the steering wheel. A tall slender lady with sandy blonde hair in her late twenties or early thirties jumped out of the passenger side.

“Help him, please!” She yelled, as she sunk to the ground, sobbing.

Thank God, the kids were asleep. They would have been scared to death at that moment.

Mike parked the car and hopped out to see how he could help. He had no idea what was going on. He walked over to the lady on the ground and talked to her first, then went to check on the man who lay slumped over. Mike took his pulse and lifted his head. A quick shake let me know the man was dead.

When he pulled his hand back, I could see blood. He hurried to the back of the van and opened it. I watched as he wiped his hands on a towel and threw it into the car the dead man was in. Then Mike went to talk to the lady again, and I saw him make a call.

Mike hopped back into the van and we left. Mike drove faster than before, and I had to ask, “Why didn’t we wait till someone came for the lady?” Mike looked in the rear-view mirror to make sure the kids were sleeping. They were still out like a light.

“Liz, that man’s wife said he just got sick, pulled off the road, and died. I called someone for her, but before I left she was getting sick too. She had blood running out of her nose and she was in a great deal of pain. I could smell a strange odor in the air, and I had to get you all away from there immediately! I’m afraid it could be something to do with that chemical bomb that they talked about on the news.”

Mike was scared. And since he never gets scared, I knew it was definitely serious.

Inside, I felt like panicking, but I knew I had to stay strong for my family.

Author Bio:
Marissa Storm has a few other published books in circulation today:

Storm Warnings, a fiction love story adventure.

And What Happens to the Children, a book about the price the children pay when the parents split their lives in half.

I now write under a Pen name for personal reasons.

I love to meet with fans and will be making personal appearances in the near future. From NC, enjoys family and friends and the love of God as well as the blessings He brings.


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Release Blitz: Will & Patrick's Endless Honeymoon by Leta Blake

Title: Will & Patrick's Endless Honeymoon
Author: Leta Blake
Series: Wake Up Married #7
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: December 4, 2017
Genius brain surgeon Patrick McCloud never thought he'd fall in love, let alone get married. He and Will Patterson are two years overdue for their honeymoon, and although romance doesn't come naturally to Patrick, he's determined to make it perfect.

Will works himself to the bone helping others and dealing with his family, who bring the drama nonstop. A tropical getaway without the usual shenanigans is just what the doctor ordered. But can Will's family leave them in peace? Knowing the Patterson-Molinaro clan, it's not likely...

Will and Patrick's Endless Honeymoon by Leta Blake continues the soapy, sexy fun of the original six part Wake Up Married serial. In Healing, South Dakota, marriage is never boring!

Author Bio:
Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.


Will & Patrick's Endless Honeymoon #7


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