Tag Archives: Shannon Esposito

Celebrate Spring with Strawberry Nice-cream!

To celebrate the arrival of Spring, I’ve joined some other fabulous authors for a Spring Bling Blog Hop! And since it’s strawberry season here in Florida, what better way to celebrate the end to dark, cold winter days then with an easy, healthy, strawberry frozen dessert?!

If you’re not familiar with “nice-cream” it’s basically ice cream made with a frozen banana base instead of dairy.

So the first and most important step here is to cut up three ripe bananas into small chunks and freeze them. Be sure to lay the bag flat in the freezer so you don’t get one big lump of bananas.Then wash and freeze the strawberries.

You will need a Vitamix, Ninja or other high-powered blender. (These frozen banana pieces are tougher than they look.) Once frozen, throw them in the blender. Then add the frozen strawberries, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 TSP of coconut or almond milk & blend until smooth!

This makes four servings. You can serve immediately (will be very soft) or freeze again for harder consistency.

There’s no end to the types of nice-cream you can make! You can add cocoa, mint, chocolate-chips, peanut butter, etc. Experimenting is part of the fun.

So, have you tried making your own nice-cream? Any tips or success stories, please share!

Also, don’t forget to visit the other Blog Hop participants for some more fun ways to celebrate the arrival of Spring:

Allyson Charles: https://www.allysoncharles.com/blog

Conniue di Marco http://www.conniedimarco.com/blog/

Gillian Baker: http://gilianbaker.com/blog/

K.B. Owen:  http://kbowenmysteries.com/blog

Layla Reyne:  https://laylareyne.tumblr.com

Kirsten Weiss: https://kirstenweiss.com/blog

Mona Karel:  https://mona-karel.com/blog/

Misterio Press: http://misteriopress.com/

Victoria De La O: http://www.victoriadelao.com/

 

Where I Come From: a poem

There’s a poem called Where I’m From by Kentucky writer George Ella Lyon which is used as a popular writing prompt. You should try it (even if you don’t consider yourself a writer). It’s fascinating which moments and memories pop up. Here’s mine…

http://www.ForestWander.com

http://www.ForestWander.com

Where I Come From

My roots are thick with coal dust
from a small mining town.
Thorn-pricked fingers stained purple from
dew-covered-dawn blackberry hunts.
I come from Pierogis, Goulash, garden delights
plucked by grandfather’s hands.

Snow-bound winters in unforgiving
Pennsylvania country
where my best friend’s sister disappeared
off our back-country road, murdered by
a serial killer.
I learned to tip-toe early.

I come from long, winding, car-sick trips
to grandma’s house. Real maple candy and
Dairy Queen after softball.
Rustling fall leaves, intoxicating sweetness,
covered bridges and deer hunting season.

I come from
fireflies-in-a-jar childhood magic, hours
in the woods, stomping through
cold-water creeks lifting rocks
for the reward of glistening jewel-eyed
salamanders. Wild-nature child.

I come from a deep love of books and solitude.
I come from don’t-tell-me-what-to-do and
God-my-heart-is-breaking and

I come from my mother, soft-shelled
heart, artist. And my father: I was
chipped off the block of his perfectionism.

I come from the year we moved south
and I fell in love with the ocean and
impossibly blue wide-open Florida sky.

Folding up my wings and
closing the book, it no longer matters
where I come from because
I am home.

Hurricane-Inspired Short Fiction

By Raghav veturi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Raghav veturi (http://creativecommons.org/licenses]

                         THE MOORING

A tropical storm swirls out at sea. A boat tugs against its mooring, the vinyl rope stretching and relaxing as the waves rise, the water churns.

She watches this out of the rain-splattered window too close to the rising waters, which are beginning to splash over the concrete seawall.

The old center console fishing boat has never been used for fishing. It was a checkmark, ownership its sole purpose. The salesman’s words long ago echo in her ears now. This elegant machine is built tough for rough off shore waters. But the fish lockers remain clean of fish scales. The 350 horsepower engines have never chased down a single marlin or red drum fish, elegantly or otherwise. Potential wasted.

THE OTHER WOMAN. She can’t quite make out the blue lettering stenciled on the hull, but that’s what it says. Her husband’s idea. Better than Masterbaiter. Bow Movement. Fish N Chicks.  Men being clever always involve a bodily function or a woman.

Her spine is getting stiff, her eyes dry. But she cannot tear herself away from the window. Not even to board it up. Minutes turn into hours turn into hope. The ringing phone is a mosquito. She bats away the sound. It’s too late now anyways. She’s seen photos of boats after a storm surge. Boats turned on their sides, half submerged, no longer elegant. THE OTHER WOMAN is taking on water.  She can see her sloshing and splashing as the swells rise and fall. Panic crawls up her throat. But something else is happening, too. The rope is coming undone.

Will she sink or will she break free? This is all that matters now.

If she sinks, she will be reborn. Like those lost treasure ships, she could rest in the silt; become the whole world to a marine microorganism community; bath in silky green saltwater all her days; grow emerald coral and forest green algae. In Feng Shui green is the color of tranquility but also of renewal. Green would suit her new life.

If she comes undone, unmoored, that would be a new life, too. One of adventure instead of peace. Swept out to sea without a way to steer, without a way to control direction or speed. Madness, really. Alone. Uncharted. That did sound exhilarating. Her spine protested as she straightened it. Her twelve-year-old blind-in-one-eye tabby wound itself around her swollen calves, stretched out on her arthritic feet, anchored her to the floor with affection.

Time has become background noise, like the ringing phone. The storm is what they call “bearing down” now. Wind gusts rattle the window. She is squinting through sheets of rain and fogged glass at THE OTHER WOMAN. The sky is layers and layers of blue-black-charcoal-grey-black fury. The sea has erased the distance between them. She is not afraid.

Either way the storm will be her savoir.

 

 

Let’s Learn Something From This Whole Trump Mess

 

The new book I’m working on, tentatively titled “Constellations of Alice” is heavier than the cozy mysteries I’ve been writing. But Alice has been bugging me for a few years to tell her story, so here I am.

 One of the themes in this book is sex trafficking. I’ve been doing a lot of research on this (and sexual assault in general) and I can tell you, the statistics are shocking.  

One in 5 women and one in 71 men will be raped in their lifetime.

This has to change.

And it can. I believe it can. But it has to start with changing the mind-set of our society.

This whole Donald Trump thing has blown up an important issue and started a dialog about sexual assault. The silver lining in a very vile, dark cloud.

His lewd comments about women and about being able to kiss them or grab their private parts whenever he wants amounts to sexual assault. The fascinating and disturbing thing to me was watching the fall-out as both men and women defended his talk as “locker room banter.” Including a GOP Senator who doesn’t think grabbing a woman’s genitals is sexual assault.

So what? All guys talk about women like this. Just words, right?

Well, NO. Wrong. Words are nothing more than an outward expression of a person’s mind-set.

This mind-set is dangerous. He thinks this way so he speaks this way so he acts this way. And he’s had more than one woman accuse him of sexual assault or rape.

Including a thirteen year old girl.

His ex-wife. (Who, under oath, accused him of violently raping her. His chief counsel’s defense was, “One can’t rape one’s own spouse.” Just. Wow.)

A business acquaintance.

I’ll stop there because this is actually not about one man. The problem is bigger than that.  

This is about the culture we live in. A culture where abusive masculine power has taken root and allowed men like this to terrorize women.

How do we fix this? Well, I can tell you the answer is not just laying down and accepting it. Nor is it women covering our faces or our bodies or staying indoors or being escorted by a male guardian everywhere we go. 

The answer is men changing the way they think about women. Period. (And I know there are good men out there who don’t talk or think this way, but since 98% of sexual assault perpetrators are male, this has to be addressed as a male problem.)

It’s been encouraging to see the men who are standing up against this kind of abusive speech and behavior. But it’s time for the others, the “boys” who are being “boys” to grow up and become men. To drop your sense of entitlement. To see women as more than body parts there for your entertainment.

It’s  also time for women to stand up and stop tolerating this mindset as “normal” male behavior. It may very well be the norm right now, but when men know better they can do better. So please stop defending “locker room talk” as innocent and harmless.

It’s neither.

 

Cover Reveal & Giveaway!

It’s finally time to reveal the secret project I’ve been working on for Severn House and TAAA DAAAAA!!! Here is the cover:

Isn’t it soooo cute?! I have to tell you, I was a bit worried when they said they weren’t going with the traditional illustrated cover (at least it’s traditional here in the US for cozies) but I really love the cover they came up with. It sets the perfect atmosphere for the story. And what is the story? So glad you asked. Here’s the blurb:

Introducing ‘doggie-yoga’ instructor Elle Pressley, in the first Paws & Pose Mystery – featuring canine cuties, Florida sunshine, a sexy Irish PI . . . and murder.

Doga instructor Elle Pressley just wants to teach her classes at Moon Key’s Pampered Pup Spa & Resort in peace and save money to move out of her crazy mother’s house. But when her deceased childhood dog, Angel, shows up, she knows she’s about to be in danger. Sure enough, one of her clients winds up dead, and Elle is pulled head first into the investigation. For the prime suspect is Dr. Ira Craft . . . the husband of Elle’s best friend, Hope.

Elle is determined to clear Ira’s name, for Hope’s sake, and she enlists the help of Irish private investigator Devon Burke. But someone is determined to stop Elle from uncovering the truth. And now that Devon’s involved, it’s not just Elle’s life that’s in danger: her heart is too . . .

What do ya think? Sound like a story you want to cozy up to? (See what I did there :-))

Well, if so here’s the details:

It will be available in the US & as an e-book on December 1st. PREORDER
UK folks can order it on Aug 31st or PREORDER


Now the fun part… the super cute doga beach-tote giveaway!

TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY you just need to leave a comment below with the email address you’d like to use to receive my newsletter. (I only send them when there’s a new release or contest)

Also, if you want me to put your name in the hat twice, you can like my Facebook page here as a bonus. (Mention that you did this in your comment)

That’s it!

I’ll randomly select a winner on Tuesday, August 18th. The winner will be notified by email and also be announced on my Facebook Page.

Go forth and enter & good luck!

Are you on Pinterest? Want a peek at my inspiration for this book? Just go HERE

My Yoga Mat Is My Life Raft

So, I’ve told you guys about my new pet cozy series coming soon from Severn House. Some news … I’ve learned the first book is slated for hardback publication in the UK this August, the US edition and worldwide e-book will be out the first of December.

I can’t wait for you guys to meet the main character, Elle Pressley. I think you’re going to love her story! Today, I want to give you a little insight into her world (and mine) by talking about something Elle and I have in common: the use of yoga as a life raft.

Someone else is pretty fond of my mat, too.

Someone else is pretty fond of my mat, too.

I love my yoga mat. When I unroll that sucker and smell the faint scent of rubber, I’m reminded of the saying “where the rubber meets the road” and it definitely fits. But yoga is more than exercise for me, and nothing brought that fact home quicker than this past year of recovering from a serious medical trauma which in turn triggered fibromyalgia.

Because of this, spending time with just this small rectangular space and my own body has become difficult. First of all, there are so many things to overcome now just to get in that space (like joint/muscle pain and fatigue that could take down an elephant). So much to work through not to give up. Frustration. Anger. Grief. So many negative thoughts to let go of in order to stay present and pay attention to my new physical boundaries so I don’t cause a flare up. To be kind to myself. Why is it such a struggle to truly be kind to ourselves?

Yoga has become a vital part of my well-being and the lessons I learn on the mat always translate to life off the mat. The biggest one:  I must show up.

You’d think that would be the easy part, right? Nope.

The importance of this “showing up” has been a valuable lesson for me off the mat, too.

Like my writing. Whether I feel like it or not, I must show up in my writing space every day. I have no boss, no one clocking my hours. But to experience the version of life I want to experience I must write. I must show up. And not just sit at the keyboard and stare out the window, I must be mentally present.

Atlas feels the need to show up with me

Atlas feels the need to show up with me

My kids. Same thing. If I don’t want to wake up one day and realize they’re surly teenagers who would rather walk on hot coals than have a conversation with their mother, I must show up and be present with them now. While they struggle to learn new things, when they fail and fall, when they hit their first homerun. I must show up. Be present. Pay attention.

The family who oms together stays together.

The family who oms together stays together.

Who would have thought a six foot strip of rubber could be such a life saver? But there you have it.

Fortunately, I don’t have to show up to solve a murder in real life like Elle does!


(If you want to be notified when the new book is released, please sign up for my newsletter on the sidebar —>)

So, what things in your life demand you show up and be present? Have you tried yoga? Loved it? Hated it? Please share?

 

 

 

 

 

Hoodoo Halloween Party & Ghost Photo!

hoodoo

I’m participating in ParaYourNormal’s Hoodoo Halloween Blog Party, and Halloween for me includes ghosts. So I thought it would be fun to do an interview with my mom, who–besides telling us lots of creepy stories growing up that we learned later were actually true–has managed to capture a ghost on camera.

So, before we get into the how and where and what-the-hell, here’s the picture in question:

Just another tour picture, right? Now here’s a close-up of that mirror in the upper left corner:                                     

Do you see him now? It doesn’t take much imagination to see the upper torso of a man in a white silk shirt, long brown hair… the eyes obscured by the default in the mirror. When we blow this image up more, we even see a red ring on the hand that he’s got raised in front of his torso.

Now let’s get the scoop from Carol:

Me: Where was this photo taken?

Nemacolin Castle. Photo by Acroterion, Creative Commons

Nemacolin Castle. Photo by Acroterion, Creative Commons

 

Carol: The photo was taken at the Nemacolin Castle in Brownsville, Pa. while on a tour, but this was not a ghost hunting tour. I love antiques and wanted to learn about the history of the castle. The important thing to remember about that day is they only let eight people go through at a time and didn’t start another tour until the last was gone. So there was no other group around us. But, we did notice a paranormal group in the last room as we were leaving.

Me: What was your reaction when you saw the image of the man in the mirror?

Carol: I didn’t believe what I was seeing. I called my sister immediately and our family got together to go through all the photos of the people in our group. No one even remotely resembled or was dressed like the man in the photo. So I then called the castle and asked if they had a mannequin in a period costume in that room. When they said they didn’t, a chill ran down my spine. We were all excited at this point. They asked me to bring my camera in to see the photo for themselves. They also arranged for me to meet with the paranormal group.

Me: I can imagine how excited a paranormal team must have been to see this photo. What was their reaction?

Carol: They were very excited. After viewing all the photos, they did a recreation and had me stand in the spot I was when I took that particular photo. I was standing in the doorway of the room at that time. The funniest part was the team tried to take photos from that point and their batteries drained twice before they could get a photo. Finally, they were able to take several photos with people of different heights to determine how tall he was. Their conclusion was, by the angle and reflection of the  man, he had to have been standing in the doorway next to me. And looking right at me.

Me: Sounds like you had a secret admirer! Did you have any other odd experiences during your tour?

Carol: Yes, when they looked at my photos they showed me several orbs I had captured. One was on the steps where a little girl is often seen. I suddenly remembered a man with the paranormal team telling me a little girl was following me as we were leaving. I laughed it off at the time. Little did I know what I’d find on my camera.

Thanks, Mom! Well guys and gals, what do you think? Do you believe in spirits, ghosts and things that go bump in the night? Do you have any questions for Carol?

 

Book News

Fall_Wallpaper
Fall is here and change is in the air! Normally, this would be the time of year that I would release a new book in the Pet Psychic series, and I’ve been receiving a lot of emails lately asking when book four will be out. Well, I have some good news and some bad news.

Bad news first. While I definitely will be releasing book four eventually (after all, there is Sylvia’s big wedding coming up!), it has been delayed.

The good news is why it’s delayed. I’ve recently signed a contract for a two book deal with Severn House Publishers for a brand new pet cozy mystery series!

So, this new series will be my priority. I’m so excited to be working with Severn House on this project. They have forty years of experience behind them and everyone has been so charming and kind. Plus, I am having so much fun writing the first book. I can’t wait for you guys to read it! There’s plenty of dogs, humor, romance and of course… murder.

If you want to know when either of the new books are out, the best thing to do is sign up for my newsletter. (Sign up on the sidebar—>)

I won’t spam you, I promise! I only send out a newsletter when I have a new release or special offer.

Happy Fall!

My Mystic Faire Experience

It’s been awhile since my last post, so I thought I’d share my day at a local mystic faire with you. Have you ever gone to one? It was the first time I’d ever been and I’m not sure why it took me so long, it was so much fun!

“Crystal skull” by C. Corleis – Uploaded by photographer as Image:Kristallschaedel.jpg

Some things of particular interest there were crystal skulls (above); Rods of Isis (which got super warm when my mom held them and freezing cold when I did. Not sure what that meant); a Tibetan bowl demonstration that we put our feet into while the energy sound healer made it sing. (It actually made me lightheaded); every flavor of gorgeous crystals you could imagine and of course… a pet psychic!

I couldn’t bring myself to talk to the pet psychic because I’m too emotional to handle thinking about the dogs I’ve lost in a public setting. I know… I’m a big chicken. I did, however, try a palm reading. She was pretty amazing.

First, did you know that the lines on your palm are always changing? I didn’t! She said you can make a print of your palm and then watch how the lines change over time. Anyway, the first thing she told me was never to move away from water because my soul needed to be by water. Yeah, I already learned that lesson and found happiness when I moved back to Florida.

I won’t go into all the personal things but I will just say that besides telling me basic things like how many children I had, that I was a writer, etc. she read a very specific event that threw my entire twenties into turmoil. She almost had to pick me up off the floor, I was so shocked. I still get chills when I think about her knowing such a specific thing about me. So, now I’m a believer in the art of palm reading. Or at least in this particular woman’s art.

Oh, I also brought home this gorgeous necklace!
I have no issues with psychics, energy healers, shamans, etc. After all, everything is energy so it makes sense to me there would be individuals who are sensitive to more subtle forms of it.

What about you? Have you had an experience with any psychics, palm readers, etc.? Please share!

 

Venice Book Fair

Spring is here and with it comes the annual Venice Book Fair & Writer’s Festival. It’s one of my favorite events in our quaint little beach town. I’ll be there signing my newest release so if you’re any where near us next weekend, stop in and say hi & get your books signed by some fabulous local authors!