Monthly Archives: August 2014

Victorian Marriage Licenses

bigstock-Wedding-Cake-5989041I write stories set throughout the nineteenth century, a time of flux in the details around marriage in England and Scotland. I am forever having to re-research this information, so I’m posting some research links here. This includes the all important information on Gretna Green marriages, in the final link. Based on these websites, I’m guessing it would be pretty difficult to get a special license and marry within one day.,_Bonds_and_Licences_in_England_and_Wales



Blueberry Poppyseed Muffins


This quick recipe pairs beautifully with a smoothie for a quick summer lunch!

  • 1 Box Krusteaz Almond Poppyseed Muffin Mix
  • 1 Cup milk
  • 3 Tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Cup blueberries

Oven to 400 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners or baking spray.

Mix the first four ingredients (flour packet only), then fold in blueberries with poppyseed packet. Fill muffin tins.

Bake for 20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.


New website, new recipe!

Scottish BannockI dreamed of making some new recipe that would tie into my upcoming release, The Kidnapped Bride, so I decided to adapt a recipe for Selkirk Bannock. This upcoming novella is set mostly in Scotland. While the end results were tasty, my baking did not go well, reminding me that there is chemistry involved in the process, and if I ignore the fact that my intermediate results went bad, the end result will not be perfect.

What did I learn?

If the yeast doesn’t behave, my baking project will not magically turn out perfectly at the end. It was supposed to expand and mine didn’t, even though it was fresh and I followed the package instructions. Gee, I shouldn’t have been surprised when my dough didn’t rise. And yet, I was. Next time, I will not give Active Dry yeast a shot, but use the kind that can simply be mixed in with the dough.

Don’t just blindly follow the oven time the recipe says. Every oven behaves differently. Yes, the outside of my loaf looked pretty, but it didn’t sound hollow when I tapped on it, like it was supposed to. Ergo, the dough was raw instead. Tasty, but raw.

And yes, if you put in an entire stick of butter, your food is going to be fattening. My bannock is not a diet food. Which leaves me hesitant to make it again and do a better job. Because if I can eat the sorry results of attempt number one, you know I’m going to positively inhale the results when I get it right!

Sophisticated Amazon Searches

To help make books more discoverable on Amazon (despite them hiding “adult content” books and redirecting search results to other books), here is a tip for *how* to search for the books you want to buy.

Have a shortcut to take you to Amazon advanced search page, rather than just opening the Amazon site and using the default search box.

In the fields on the Advanced Search page, you can enter one item or any combination of author, title, ISBN, publisher, etc. When you do a search this way, adult content will come up. And the search results seem, from our experience, to be more in sync with the search terms entered.

For example, if you search on author Jaid Black in advanced search, the 12 items on the first results page are all books by Jaid Black. But if you search by that author name in the default All Departments search box at the top of any page, five of the items (including the top one) displayed on the first results page are by other authors and have nothing to do with Jaid Black.

I did a search for “Heather Hiestand” and “historical romance” and the list was pretty accurate. Only one of my contemporary romances showed up. So this is a great way to search for authors who have long backlists like I do!