Monday, April 13, 2015

A bit of a ramble

Welcome. It's a bit of a mess around here. But as always, I do have goodies laid out for your enjoyment. Dish up.

I'm at a loss today. I've been very busy with work and finishing the 4th book of the Beckett series. I'm sort of in between. It's too early to promote the new book. I didn't really plan what to post. In other words, I'm unprepared for my blog this week.

Let's talk social media. What do you consider social media? I know Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, (which I consider the worst ever) and what else?

I have MySpace, Pinterest, YouTube, are they consider social media also? Then there is Library Thing, Shelfari, and many, many others! I cannot keep up with them all, I do the best I can, but... So I focus on the major ones. I try to have at least a presence other places. In case someone looks me up. As you can tell I'm rambling. So please, ramble with me a bit. Tell me your favorites. Please let everyone know any hidden secrets you have to social media?

I personally think that Pinterest is the next best thing. It's fun, in fact I play too long there. And it's a great place to post your books and share. I like YouTube also, I'm just not sure how to promote it in my favor. LOL

Okay, your turn. What's your favorites?

Monday, April 06, 2015

Welcome #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy

#1 NY Times Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy talks inspiration, romance, and research, plus tells us about how the Callaways' lives resemble her own… Check out what she has to say then Read on for more information about this blog tour and all its great prizes!

What do you love most about being an author?

Being able to tell stories! I've been a voracious reader since I was a child, and having a job that allows me to create my own worlds, characters and plots is a dream come true.

What first inspired you to write the Callaways? Where did you get the initial idea for the series?

I had wanted to write a family series for a while, and I wanted the family to be blended, just to make the dynamics a little more interesting. Jack Callaway was a widower with four small boys when he met Lynda Kane, a divorcee with two small girls. They fell in love, got married and had twins. The eight siblings are now adults and range in age between 35 and 25. I also wanted the Callaways to stand for something. So there's a family tradition of "serve and protect". All the kids are raised with the idea that they need to serve the community, to help others and to always protect the family as well as anyone else in trouble. And the Callaways always seem to find trouble, even when they're not looking for it.

Which of the Callaway siblings is the most like you? How are the two of you similar?

There is a piece of me in every character that I write, which makes it impossible for me to ever pick a favorite. I do like Emma a lot, because she's the one person in the family who has a close relationship with every sibling. She's also independent, brave and loving, which are all great traits.

Your characters all have such fascinating jobs, and, in reading your novels, it feels like I'm right there with them. How do you perform your research in order to make careers such as a smoke jumper, homicide detective, or Coast Guard rescue pilot so authentic?

I've read quite a few nonfiction books and articles written by smoke jumpers, firefighters, cops, etc. And I have a writer friend who is also a police detective, so I often ask her for help with the more technical aspects. But what's really fun about writing is discovering new things—so I love to write about people in careers I don't know that much about. In THAT SUMMER NIGHT, one of the characters is tied into the pharmaceutical industry, and I had never written a book that delved into that area. I found some of the true whistleblower stories that I read in preparation for writing that book to be fascinating. I think enjoying research is probably a big part of being a successful writer. I was born with a curiosity and an imagination. Writing is a great outlet!

The Callaways all have such beautiful, unique love stories. How do you get in the mindset for writing them? Are any of their stories inspired, at least in part, by your own real-life love story?

I have a wonderful husband who always takes credit for being my inspiration. And while that's true, as a writer I do love to explore stories beyond my own personal experience. I like to bring together couples who complement each other but also drive each other a little crazy. I think love is about finding that one person who pushes you to be better, who challenges the way you think, supports you no matter what and gives you that heady, dizzy, wonderful feeling that comes when you fall in love.

I love that your novels are not only awesome romances but also have gripping suspense as a central part of the story line. How do you start planning your novels with the romance or with the suspense—or with something else altogether?

I enjoy writing romance that brings a little extra in terms of a plot. So every Callaway novel features a great love story, a puzzling mystery, some family drama and a little nerve-tingling suspense. I don't outline in great detail, but I always have a general idea of the suspense plot points before I begin. The story takes shape and changes as I put myself into the characters' heads. That's part of the fun of writing!

Congrats on your groundbreaking, new partnership with Ingram to get the paperback editions of the Callaways out to the world. What about this opportunity has you most excited?

Since I formed my own publishing company and began independently publishing my books outside of the traditional New York publishing industry, it's been a challenge to get my books into print and into physical bookstores across the country. Late last year, I entered into a groundbreaking partnership with Ingram Publisher Services to sell and distribute my books into retail outlets like Target, Barnes and Noble, airport bookstores and supermarkets, as well as other bookstore chains. I know there are lots of readers who still prefer to read in print, and I'm thrilled that they'll now be able to read my bestselling digital series in their favorite format!

About the Callaway Blog Tour & All Its Great Prizes!

This is the week you finally meet the Callaways! Not only are they all over the web as part of their extraordinary blog tour, but they are also out and about in your neighborhood. That's right; we're celebrating the print launch with Ingram by throwing a party all over the world! Make sure to follow this tour closely for your chance to win gift cards, swag, autographed books, and other incredible prizes.

All the info you need to join the fun and enter to win amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment—easy to enter; easy to win!

To Win the Prizes:

1. Purchase any of the Callaway novels by Barbara Freethy (optional)
2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity (go here)
3. Visit today’s featured social media event (that's where the HUGE prizes are)

About The Callaways: The Callaways were born to serve and protect! In Barbara’s new connected family series, each of the eight siblings in this blended Irish-American family find love, mystery and adventure, often where they least expect it! Each book stands alone, but for the full enjoyment of the series, you might want to start at the beginning with On A Night Like This! Get the eBooks via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, or Kobo.

About the Author: Barbara Freethy has been making up stories most of her life. Growing up in a neighborhood with only boys and a big brother who was usually trying to ditch her, she spent a lot of time reading. When she wasn’t reading, she was imagining her own books. After college and several years in the P.R. field, she decided to try her hand at a novel. Now Barbara is a #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author loved by readers all over the world. Her novels range from contemporary romance to romantic suspense and women's fiction. Learn more on her website, Facebook page, or in her Street Team.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Welcome everyone! This is a short and sweet post. It's all about the WINNER!

Congratulations goes to Joy Isley.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

REPOSTED/Updated - It's March! What are you celebrating?

Hi All! If you've visited Mary's Garden before you know the drill, everyone fill your plates with goodies and have a seat.

March is a big month for me! If you read my blog post a few weeks back you know that it's my big 6.0. birthday at the end of March. And more important I found out that I'm Irish. So all these years saying "I'm adopted I can be what I want, so I'm Irish." Has actually been true.

In honor of my big birthday--I'm trying not to feel older than dirt--and St. Paddy's day, I am having a contest. But I am not going to give it away to someone who just posts a comment "I would like to win." or something like that.

I'd really like to hear some feedback about why you follow me on my blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or even YouTube. Do you like my books? Do you like my posts? What keeps you coming back? In other words, I'm trying to find out what interests people about me as an author or person.

Anyone who gives me feedback on what they like and what

You're asking; WHAT is with all the strikeouts? Right. Well this is it. That whole contest was all about MEEEEEE!  That is so uncool. I want it to be all about you! Yes I'm celebrating this month, it's been big. I celebrated St. Paddy's day for the first time knowing I was actually Irish. Since I originally posted this (before all the strikeouts) I actually found my birth mother and talked to her. We're getting to know each  other and hope to meet in person sometime in the near future.

And last but LEAST of my celebrations, I'm hitting a my big 6 0 birthday--YUCK. But what can you do? So I'm having not a contest. I'm having a giveaway. Unfortunately, I can't give something to everyone, so here is the deal.

Please share something on the comments, I want to get to know YOU!!!

Who is your favorite author? (and I mean if you love Nora, Stephen, James Patterson, whoever shout out.) What is your favorite book of all time? You know the one you read over an over again. What is your favorite recipe? What is your favorite restaurant? What is your favorite city? What is your favorite hobby? Are you celebrating this month?

You get where I'm going here, tell me about YOU!

Whoever has commented and anyone who comments about something they love or tells me something about themselves. OR just say's HI Mary! Will have their name put in a hat for a drawing for a Book bag full of goodies. Includes: Book bag, A Beckett Series mug, and three signed books; Three Brides and a dress, Four Sisters, and Chick Magnet.

This giveaway will go through March 31st--that's my big birthday. I will announce the winner on April 1!

You can email me from my contact page, or comment here on the blog. All people who comment or email will be entered to win.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Irish Recipe Week

Amy Durham

Irish cuisine is full of comfort foods, from the soups and stews to the hearty vegetables and soda breads. Colcannon is no different. It’s a warm, comforting dish of mashed potatoes with a twist!

4 potatoes, (russets and Yukon Gold are good varieties) cut into cubes
4 tablespoons salted butter
2/3 cup cream or half and half
1/2 small head of cabbage (green or white)
5 scallions, chopped finely
salt and pepper

Cook potatoes in large pan of boiling, salted water for approximately 15 - 20 minutes. Drain and mash potatoes, using your preferred method of mashing. Season to taste with salt and pepper, add the butter and cream, and stir well. Keep the mashed potatoes warm while you cook cabbage.

Cut cabbage into quarters, removing the core. Cut or shred the leaves finely. In a pan of boiling salted water, cook cabbage shreds for 1 - 2 minutes. Drain thoroughly.

Fold the cooked cabbage into the mashed potatoes, along with the chopped scallions. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately while warm.

** I took the leftover Colcannon and made potato cakes the next day. You just add 1 beaten egg and enough flour to tighten the Colcannon up enough to make patties. Shallow fry the patties in a mixture of oil and butter until golden brown on both sides. YUM!

Web Site or Amazon Page

Buy links for Asher:
B and N,

Author Stanalei Fletcher
Corned Beef and Cabbage

Cook Corned Beef according to package instruction (or your favorite method)
To liven up the cabbage portion:
Add new potatoes, baby carrots and an onion quartered to steam with cabbage.
Steam until potatoes are tender. Test with a fork.
Cooking the vegetables separately will keep the grease off.

Web Site or Amazon Page

Buy links for Lightning
B and N

KyAnn Waters
St. Patrick's Day Banana Treat for Two

Melt in a small skillet
1/4 cup butter
add 1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
add 1/4 cup Irish whiskey
Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Sugars will dissolve.
add 2 large, peeled, and cut in half lengthwise bananas
Simmer until bananas are tender.
Pour glazed bananas over vanilla ice cream, sponge cake or serve with a dollop of cream.

Web Site and Amazon Page

Buy Links
B and N

And last but not least, my turn!!!
Mary Martinez
Sheppard's Pie -- Mary's Style

(Bison, blue cheese Sheppard's pie)
I'm just going to walk you through this. Measurements are propotionate to how many you want to feed.
Let's start with onion and wine -- The wine is for drinking while you cook.
Saute the onions the garlic and the carrots till tender.
Add the bison and brown and then add peas.
Boiling the potatoes.
Crumble blue cheese.
Hell might as well add a little to the potatoes.
Put the meat mixture in the dish.
Sprinkle the blue cheese.
Top with mashed potatoes and put in the oven.
Bake at 425 degrees until tender about 30 to 40 minutes. The potatoes will be brownish.

Web Site and Amazon Page

N and B

Monday, March 09, 2015

Welcome Anna Sugg

Welcome everyone, we are lucky to have Judy Baker, or I guess this series is under her mysterious name Anna Sugg, here to tell us about her new book. The garden is still cool, but the weather is beautiful. Pile some goodies on your plate, pour your favorite beverage, and find a heater to sit by. Shall we begin?

Thank you Mary for having me as your guest. I’m excited to talk about my new release coming on March 29, 2015, the third book of my Yellow Creek novels, Spirit Catcher.

Some of you know I was born and raised in the south, but now, have lived most of my life in the west. After marrying a cowboy in Nevada, who turned city slicker, we now live in Salt Lake City, Utah. I love the west, but will always be a southern, country girl at heart.

In 2011 my family and I took a trip to Tennessee to visit my relatives. While there we drove to a quaint little farming community called, Yellow Creek, where my mother grew up on a tobacco farm. I spent much of my youth running around the farm, chasing chickens, swinging on the front porch while the summer rains poured down on the tin roof of the old farmhouse, trekking through the woods during the autumn, looking for the perfect Christmas tree in the winter, and even, skinny-dipping in the creek during the summers. Oh, so many wonderful memories. Oops, I digressed.

While visiting Tennessee, we drove through Yellow Creek. Nothing had changed. It’s still a small farming community with fewer residents. Anyway, I was shocked to see my grandparents’ farmhouse still standing. The land had been sold years before, but not developed. I took a walk through the old farmhouse and an amazing thing happened. I felt my grandmother’s presence. The emotions I felt were so deep that I didn’t want to forget what I felt and experience, so I wrote it all down. Hence, my first Yellow Creek Novel, Secret Past, which led to the second novel, Ghost Thunder, and now Yellow Creek’s third novel, Spirit Catcher.

Spirit Catcher blurb:
From the moment Charlotte Jane Matheson hangs the ancient Dream Catcher on the wall over her bed, she has weird dreams. Determined to find out the meaning of her dreams, she travels to the small community of Yellow Creek, Tennessee. While there, she meets an old Cherokee Indian, a dog that suddenly appears out of the dark woods, and a good-looking farmer-wannabe. Then, her dreams stop, but unexplainable visions draw her into the past through a circle of light.

The shocking vision of her mother, who’s been missing for years, has to mean something when she leads her to a cave beyond the Cherokee burial grounds. Is the old Indian a true Cherokee, or a witch? Can he help her understand her visions and their meanings?

How is a missing employee connected to her property in Yellow Creek? And, why is the mysterious, farmer-wannabe always in the right place to help when she’s in need? What does he want from her? What does it all mean?

Spirit Catcher, Available March 29, 2015
To celebrate Spirit Catcher. I’m giving away a Dream Catcher in a March drawing. Go to: and send in your name.

To see Yellow Creek’s old farmhouse, watch my video:

Thank you Mary for giving me a chance to tell your followers about Spirit Catcher and how it has a special place in my heart. Author Page:

Monday, February 23, 2015

Re-post from 2011 - Holiday traditions

This is a re-post from Thanksgiving past...

Traditions. This month is all about traditions, anyway it is to me. I love the holidays when it snows and your mom fills the kitchen with the smell of vanilla.

I'd love to hear what your traditions are!

One of our traditions is Candied Yams. This year at Thanksgiving, I added a twist--well I didn't dare cut out the candied ones or my kids would never forgive me. So I had two dishes. Traditional and Jamaica Yams. I thought I'd share the recipes.

Candied Yams -- Too many calories to count.
4 large yams cleaned, peeled an sliced about 1/4 inch thick
1 bag of miniature marshmallows
 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
dash of cinnamon
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place a row of sliced yams on the bottom of an oven safe baking dish. Put bits of butter over them, sprinkle with brown sugar and add a row of marshmallows. Repeat until the dish is filled. sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake for an hour.

Jamaican Yams 
4 Yams cleaned, peeled and sliced about 1/4 inch thick
Canola butter
1 1/2 tsp Jamaican spice
Add a row of yams to the bottom of a oven safe baking dish, then add some low cal butter and sprinkle with Jamaican spice, then repeat until dish is full.
1/8 tsp Allspice
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp Thyme
1/2 tsp Onion powder
1/8 tsp Clove (Ground)
1/2 tsp Ground Chili's
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder.
Use mortar and pestle to grind until powdering.
After sprinkling you should have some left. Great rubbed into pork and then grilled.

Next week March 2, 2015 I will be announcing my March contest and prize in honor of St. Patty's Day and my birthday!