Friday, October 22, 2021

Halloween Memories, Good, Bad, or Frightening? By Connie Vines #RR (89), #BWLAuthor, #MFRAurhor. #Halloween, #HalloweenTreats

This month's Round Robin topic: Your most frightening Halloween, or childhood memory. 🎃🍬👻

Well, as I've stated more than once, I enjoy Halloween without the gore and nightmare-making, fright-night events.

As a child, I dressed up in a homemade costume: I was a Zombie, a Genie, a Cat, but never a princess or a frightening monster.
Even as an adult, I would take my children, along with half-a-dozen or more neighborhood kids trick-or-treating, rather than sit on the porch and hand out candy.

Fortunately, my husband's favorite Halloween event was handing out (and sampling) candy from the witch's cauldron or large plastic pumpkin beside the wooden bench.

My favorite activities during the Halloween Season? I watched: "It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown", I also watched the Classic Universal Studios movies: "The Mummy", "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" ( in inspiration for the gory-updated version "The Shape of Water), "The Wolfman", and "Dracula". I also watched, "The Bride of Frankenstein". Once.  "The Bride of Frankenstein and Frankenstein," caused nightmares for me. As did Mary Shelley's novel.

In all deference to Mary Shelly, "Meerkat Manor" gives me nightmares, too.

meerkat manor

So, it goes without saying, my novel, Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow, is not The Walking Death type of novella.

 Movies are recommended for skittish people: (Pumpkin = I watch/ Ghost = I can't watch)

1. Hocus Pocus 👻

2. The Addams Family (classic and updated) 🎃

3.  It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown 🎃

4. Ghostbusters (original) 🎃

5. Frankenweenie 👻

6. Halloweentown 🎃

7. The Nightmare Before Christmas 👻

8. Little Shop of Horrors 👻

9. The Munsters (classic) 🎃

10. Practical Magic 🎃

11. Casper 👻

What move do I always watch?  It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.  I love, love this movie.  Snoopy in the pumpkin patch always makes me smile.

The crazy thing is, I can read and re-read the novel Dracula by Braun Stoker and watch the 1990’s movie version of Dracula and I am fine.  (Dracula, like The Phantom of the Opera, falls under the umbrella of tortured hero and love story).

Please visit these "spooktacular- blog hop participants.  What Halloween Tales are They Spinning??

Skye Taylor

Victoria Chatham

Marci Baun

Connie Vines

Dr. Bob Rich

Rhobin L Courtright

After visiting the other participants in this month's Round Robin Blog Hop,

Stop by CTR and sign up to win a gift certificate!

Happy Halloween,


Wednesday, October 20, 2021

What I'm Reading this Month by Connie Vines #BWLAuthors, #BookReviews, #WritingTips, #AmazonReads #Mysteries, #Romance

My Apologies for being remiss in posting to my blog site.  I've been living in my home while undergoing construction (my home, not me).  Chaos is an understatement. I'm happy to report there is running water, a kitchen and a bathroom sink, and my stove and refrigerator are in back in the kitchen.

Consequently, I had time to read many ebooks and post reviews 🙋🕮📱. Yay!

September and October:  My star reviews appear on Amazon, Goodreads, BookBub, BarnesandNoble, Smashwords, and other sites. I purchase from various vendors as well as the publishers' site when possible.  Reviews are posted with 4 - 5 stars ratings. I've linked back to each author's web or blog site for additional info./purchase links.

Reading at the moment: 

Death and Denial by Joan Havelange

Arranging a Dream by J.Q. Rose

Book of Practical Magic by Mikki Sadil

Read and Reviewed:

Ghost Point by Diane Scott Lewis

Dracula by Bram Stoker (which I read at least twice a year)

Fly Away Snow Goose by Juliet Waldron and John Wisdomkeeper

Deadly Undertaking by J.Q. Rose (link above)

The  Curious Case of Simon Todd by Vanessa C Hawkins

Opposites in Love, The Gemini - Sagittarius Connection by Janet Lane-Walters

Possessing Prudence by Betty Ann Harris

Loving that Cowboy by Victoria Chatham

Trading Faces by Ann Herrick
4 out of 5 stars.

Death Without Honor by Diane Bator

Diamondback by Elizabeth Dearl

Codename Romance by Kat Attaila

The Heart Leads Home by Sydell Voeller

Happy Reading!

e-book each month!    from BWL Publishing

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Halloween Meals Fit for Pint-Sized Ghouls and Goblins! By Connie Vines #Halloween Food, #BWLAuthor, #Connievines, #VampiresandWerewolves #CoffeeTimeRomance

Cannibal's Hot Dogs

What is my favorite thing about Halloween?
Parties, Decorations, and my yearly Dinner Party!

It's  Spook-tacular Dinner Party for my (adult) children and grandchildren.

Each year there is a different theme.  I Igo old-school, emailing invitations with the menu.

My first dinner featured “Deadman over Worms” (meatloaf in person-form with a fork in the chest) served over wheat pasta with snips of parsley, bleeding cemetery cake, with a side of eyeballs, and witches-fingers.

The next year it was hot dogs carved to look like bloody fingers served in a bun, punch with ice-cube eyeballs, dip that looked like slime, veggies arranged to look like a skeleton, chocolates shaped like mice served over the cake with chopped and crushed candy to resemble graveyard dirt.

Of course, everyone dresses up, we play spooky music, and play games.  All these events are very tame and especially for preschoolers.   Everyone goes home clutching a goodie bag and toy (flying bats, wax teeth, a blinking necklace).

The planning and selected theme are discussed throughout the year.  As the children matured, they helped prepare the meal.  Painting the bloody fingers with ketchup, smashing the ghosts (mashed potatoes), and taste-testing the cemetery dirt were the most popular.

Visit here for my posted Halloween Party ideas and kid-tested meals!

Sweet and Sour Bat Wings, Vampire Punch, or Spooky Grilled Cheese Sandwiches!

Happy Halloween my Lovelies, (check out the CONTEST link 🠟



My novella, Here Today Zombie Tomorrow
is part of the Hocus Pic It Contest!

Visit my website HERE and follow the instructions!

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Connie's Tuesday Kitchen: Cajun Country Cooking by Connie Vines,

Flash Back to the Past! 
It's Cajun Cooking!

I miss Justin Wilson's Cajun Cooking Show.

I watched him on weekends. My husband is from Louisiana and enjoyed the mini-vacation to the south when he watched his shows.

Gotta love Justin Wilson's funny stories.  And, no matter what was on the stove, everything needed more wine!

Gumbo Ya Ya an anthology for women who like Cajun romance, includes recipes for delicious Cajun meals.  All are home-cook friendly.

                                                                Gumbo and rice

Instant Pot Gumbo is so easy to make! Loaded with sausage, chicken, and shrimp, this is a family favorite!

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 35 minutes Total: 45 minutes
Serves: 8 servings


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red bell pepper diced
1 green bell pepper diced
1 onion diced
1 cup celery chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
13.5 ounces Andouille sausage cut into rounds
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup butter
3 cups chicken broth
1 pound chicken cubed
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning (or to taste, I used Tony Chachere’s)

10 ounces diced tomatoes with green chiles (aka Rotel tomatoes)
14 ounces fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
1 cup okra sliced
1 pound shrimp peeled, deveined
4 cups cooked rice


I spray my Instant Pot with non-stick PAM for easy clean-up

Set Instant Pot to "Saute" function and add olive oil. Add peppers, onion, celery, garlic, and sausage. 
Sausage, peppers, celery, onion, and garlic are cooked in an Instant Pot to make Instant Pot Gumbo.

Saute for 3-5 minutes or until vegetables become soft. Remove all vegetables and sausage. Set aside. 
Sausage, peppers, onion, and celery. Immediately add butter and stir, scraping up any cooked bits from the bottom of the pot.
When butter is melted, add flour to make a roux. Cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly forming a light roux. If you want to make a "dark roux", cook for 30-40 minutes until the roux becomes a dark, golden brown color. Turn the cooker off. 

Add chicken broth, cooked vegetables, and sausage, chicken, Creole seasoning, diced tomatoes with chiles, fire-roasted tomatoes, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. 

Close and lock the lid of the Instant Pot. Turn the steam release handle to the “Sealing” position (see notes above about avoiding the "burn" notice).

Chicken, tomatoes, may leaves, salt, and pepper in an Instant Pot.

Press "Manual" and select “High Pressure." Set time to 20 minutes. When time is up, turn the cooker off.  Quick-release by turning the valve to "venting". 

When pressure is fully released, remove the lid and stir in okra. Press "Saute", and cook uncovered for 5 minutes.

Okra added to the gumbo in an Instant Pot

Add shrimp and cook an additional 5 minutes or until shrimp is cooked through. 

Remove and discard bay leaves. Serve with rice. 

A bowl of Instant Pot gumbo made with chicken, sausage, shrimp, peppers, onions, okra, and seasonings with rice served on the side.

Calories: 542kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 224mg | Sodium: 1517mg | Potassium: 570mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1410IU | Vitamin C: 49.4mg | Calcium: 155mg | Iron: 3.6mg

Remember: Instant Pot instructions may vary by manufacturer.  I have a Pioneer Woman version, the instructions and the buttons are different.

More adventurous in your dining?

You will find my recipe for fried gator 'bites' in my Gumbp Ya Ya anthololgy! 

                                                                    Fried Gator Bites

Happy Reading and wishing Ya'll adventures in cooking,


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Connie's Tuesday Kitchen: Scones by Connie Vines #BWLAuthor, #AuthorsWhoBake, #Scones, #MFRWAuthor, TuesdayTreats,

Happy Tuesday!

 I'd like to share a scone recipe I prepare as a special treat for a family brunch.  Or, I must confess,  for an afternoon accompaniment to a cup of hot tea--just for me :-).  I am not the purest.  I will freeze and rewarm scones in a toaster oven or my upper open/warmer of my stove.  I do not, however, recommend reheating any type of bread in a microwave.

Real English Scones

12 scones

2 cups flour, preferably cake flour
4 teaspoons baking powder (not soda)
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, room temp
1 egg, lightly beaten
milk, enough to add up to 3/4 cup with the egg added
1 egg, extra

(If you prefer a sweet scone you may add a bit of sugar to the recipe or dried fruit).


Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

Add butter and rub it with fingers until it resembles crumbs.

Beat egg lightly, pour into a measuring cup, and add milk -- you can use buttermilk instead -- to make up 3/4 cup liquid.

Add liquid slowly to dry ingredients while mixing. You should have a soft dough, but not wet or very sticky.

Sprinkle flour on a wooden board or working surface. Turn dough out on that. Pat out lightly with fingers until about 1 1/2 inch flat, or a little less.

Press out rounds about 2 1/2 inches across.

Gather excess dough and repeat the process.
Beat extra egg well.

Put the scones on a greased tin, use a pastry brush, and brush with the beaten egg.
Bake for about 13 minutes until well risen and golden.

To serve, best use them quickly. Coffee shops keep making up batches, so as to serve them almost hot from the oven.

To eat, break open while hot or warm, and eat with cream and different jams.

Do you have a favorite Scone recipe?
Please share.  

Do you have Scone Tales--misadventures in backing, you'd lie to share?

Remember, scones are the perfect snack while reading one of my novels!


Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews