Winter Blogfest: Helen C. Johannes

This post is part of Long and Short Reviews’ Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win a Kindle copy of FREDERICK FLY-CATCHER, US only.

Chip Cupcakes

Looking for something yummy and easy to make ahead for your holiday brunch? Something kid-sized as well as grab-and-go? My family calls these Chip Cupcakes, but they’re really a cross between a muffin and an unfrosted cupcake. All the tasty goodness of a cupcake without the frosting mess, plus nuts and chocolate chips. Bonus: The ingredients are those you most likely already have on hand—no seasonal specialty items. Extra bonus: If these prove to be a hit with your family, you can make them any time of the year!

Chip Cupcakes

You’ll need two mixing bowls, one medium and one large, plus muffin/cupcake tins. I use paper liners for easy removal and less mess. This makes 18-20 cupcakes.

Prepare the following ingredients:

2/3 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, unbeaten

2 cups sifted flour

2 ½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

2/3 cup milk

½ tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. almond extract

1 cup chocolate chips

½ cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (I like smaller bits, so I put the nuts in a plastic bag and smash them with a rolling pin. A can or jar works just as well.)

In medium bowl, sift flour, salt, and baking powder together, adding the chips lightly to the mixture. In larger bowl, cream the butter and sugar well. Add eggs one at a time, beating until fluffy. Add vanilla and almond extracts. Mix in flour alternately with the milk. Fold in nuts.

Fill greased muffin tins or paper liners 2/3 full.

Bake at 400° F for 20 min. Makes 18-20 cupcakes. Tip out onto rack and let cool. Store in tightly covered container, and you’ll have kid-friendly treats ready for that otherwise busy holiday brunch the next morning.

“A fun adventure that was a hit with my nine-year-old!”

What happens when Frederick, a champion fly-catcher, is confronted with a human? After all, humans are dangerous! And worse, this human is carrying a thing of troublesome, powerful magic. What if Frederick can’t get it to stop?

This fast-paced chapter book will entice young readers to keep turning pages to find out what happens next. Connecting with Frederick’s frog’s-eye-view reminds children to treat all creatures with respect and to be open to friendships with new or different people. Parents can use the story events as jumping-off points to talk with children about problem-solving and teamwork strategies as well as simply being kind.

“The best thing I could do was to relax and enjoy the ride, so that’s exactly what I did.”

Helen C. Johannes writes award-winning fantasy inspired by the fairy tales she grew up reading and the amazing historical places she’s visited in England, Ireland, Scotland and Germany. Multi-published, she writes tales of adventure and romance in fully realized worlds sprung from pure imagination and a lifelong interest in history, culture, and literature. Warriors on horseback, women who refuse to sit idly at home, and passion that cannot be denied or outrun—that’s what readers will find in her adult books: Brave men, bold women—hearts in search of home. Fast-paced, fanciful, family-friendly fun inspired by her own children is the hallmark of Frederick Fly-Catcher.

Website

Buy the book at Amazon.

LASR Anniversary Scavenger Hunt: Lord of Druemarwin by Helen C. Johannes

Thanks for joining us on our 14th anniversary scavenger hunt! There are two ways to enter to win and it’s easy to play– first read the blurb below, then answer the question on the first Rafflecopter. You might win a $100 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC (along with other prizes). Follow and visit authors’ social media pages on the second Rafflecopter and you’re entered to win another $100 Amazon/BN GC (along with other prizes)!

In a world of lies and betrayal, can they trust each other?

Lady Raell can fight, ride, and argue politics as well as her brothers. Only being mistress of her father’s household keeps her in skirts. In Naed, the new Lord of Druemarwin, she has found devotion, a kindred spirit, and a marriage promise. But when a forgotten and unwanted betrothal comes to light, she has no choice but to run.

Amidst sweeping revolution, Naed must rally his people, fend off assassination attempts, and fight against claims he’s a traitor. Then he discovers everything about his lineage and family is a lie. And his beloved belongs to another.

With lives and a kingdom at stake, Raell and Naed must find a way to protect the innocent and save their love.

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LASR Anniversary Scavenger Hunt: Frederick Fly-Catcher by Helen C. Johannes


Thanks for joining us on our 14th anniversary scavenger hunt! There are two ways to enter to win and it’s easy to play– first read the blurb below, then answer the question on the first Rafflecopter. You might win a $100 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC (along with other prizes). Follow and visit authors’ social media pages on the second Rafflecopter and you’re entered to win another $100 Amazon/BN GC (along with other prizes)!

“A fun adventure that was a hit with my nine-year-old!”

What happens when Frederick, a champion fly-catcher, is confronted with a human? After all, humans are dangerous! And worse, this human is carrying a thing of troublesome, powerful magic. What if Frederick can’t get it to stop?

This fast-paced chapter book will entice young readers to keep turning pages to find out what happens next. Connecting with Frederick’s frog’s-eye-view reminds children to treat all creatures with respect and to be open to friendships with new or different people. Parents can use the story events as jumping-off points to talk with children about problem-solving and teamwork strategies as well as simply being kind.

“The best thing I could do was to relax and enjoy the ride, so that’s exactly what I did.”

 Bookbub

Buy the book at Books2Read.

 

Scavenger Hunt:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Winter Blogfest: Helen C. Johannes

This post is part of Long and Short Reviews’ Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win one Kindle copy of Lord of Druemarwin.

Favorite Christmas Treat: Chocolate Angel Pie

My mother-in-law was famous in the family for her pies. Every holiday celebration we all looked forward to a piece of any of her fabulous creations. We had the traditional pumpkin and mince pies, but one almost everyone wanted a piece of was her Chocolate Angel Pie.

This particular confection required a meringue shell laced with walnuts and filled with a special chocolate/whipped cream combination. Not being a whiz at meringues myself, and witnessing how this kind of crust/shell crumbles and defies easy removal from the pie pan for even the most expert bakers (including my mother-in-law), I have since adapted the recipe.

If your family craves chocolate for the holidays, and you are contemplating a small gathering, this recipe will satisfy both, plus add the delightful pizazz of the unexpected to your dinner. And it’s surprisingly easy. (Something we all need during the holiday rush.) 

Chocolate Angel Pie

1 plain pie crust, baked and cooled (premade or from scratch)

Filling:

1 bar (4 oz.) Bakers German Sweet Chocolate (found in stores alongside the usual Bakers Chocolate)

3 tablespoons water

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Break chocolate into pieces into a small saucepan. Add water. Stir chocolate in the water over low heat until melted; cool until thickened, a few minutes. Blend in 1 teaspoon vanilla and nuts. Whip cream or Dream Whip or measure Cool Whip. Fold chocolate mixture into whipped cream. Pile into baked pie shell. Refrigerate. Serve with more whipped topping, if desired. Enjoy!

“I read this book in a span of hours. I have work I should have done yesterday that I did not do today because I had reading to do damnit …. The romance was well done, steamy. A good book!” Netgalley Reviewer 613674

Lady Raell can fight, ride, and argue politics as well as her brothers. Only being mistress of her father's household keeps her in skirts. In Naed, the new Lord of Druemarwin, she has found devotion, a kindred spirit, and a marriage promise. But when a forgotten and unwanted betrothal comes to light, she has no choice but to run.

Amidst sweeping revolution, Naed must rally his people, fend off assassination attempts, and fight against claims he's a traitor. Then he discovers everything about his lineage and family is a lie. And his beloved belongs to another.

With lives and a kingdom at stake, Raell and Naed must find a way to protect the innocent and save their love.

“I Truly loved this book the setting, the plot, the writing style, the plot twists and the characters in the book were amazing. I would reread this again.” Nicole b, Netgalley

Helen C. Johannes writes award-winning fantasy romance inspired by the fairy tales she grew up reading and the amazing historical places she’s visited in England, Ireland, Scotland and Germany. She writes tales of adventure and romance in fully realized worlds sprung from pure imagination and a lifelong interest in history, culture, and literature. Warriors on horseback, women who refuse to sit idly at home, and passion that cannot be denied or outrun—that’s what readers will find in her books.

Blog

Buy the book at Amazon.

LASR Anniversary Scavenger Hunt: Lord of Druemarwin by Helen C. Johannes


Thanks for joining us on our 13th anniversary scavenger hunt! There are two ways to enter to win and it’s easy to play– first read the blurb below, then answer the question on the first Rafflecopter. You might win a $100 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC. Follow and visit authors social media pages on the second Rafflecopter and you’re entered to win another $100 Amazon/BN GC!

Lady Raell can fight, ride, and argue politics as well as her brothers. Only being mistress of her father’s household keeps her in skirts.

In Naed, the new Lord of Druemarwin, she has found devotion, a kindred spirit, and a marriage promise. But when a forgotten and unwanted betrothal comes to light, she has no choice but to run.

Amidst sweeping revolution, Naed must rally his people, fend off assassination attempts, and fight against claims he’s a traitor. Then he discovers everything about his lineage and family is a lie. And his beloved belongs to another.

With lives and a kingdom at stake, Raell and Naed must find a way to protect the innocent and save their love.

Buy the book at Amazon.

Scavenger Hunt:

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LASR Anniversary Scavenger Hunt: Frederick Fly-Catcher by Helen C. Johannes


Thanks for joining us on our 13th anniversary scavenger hunt! There are two ways to enter to win and it’s easy to play– first read the blurb below, then answer the question on the first Rafflecopter. You might win a $100 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC. Follow and visit authors social media pages on the second Rafflecopter and you’re entered to win another $100 Amazon/BN GC!

Frederick the frog isn’t looking for adventure. His life in the family pond—hanging out and catching flies—is perfect. Or it would be if a bully wasn’t harassing the youngest frogs. To defend them, Frederick accepts a fly-catching challenge, but what he catches isn’t an insect. It’s a magic ring, and Frederick has swallowed it! Whenever he burps or coughs, something terrifying happens to the pond.
“Frogs shouldn’t have anything to do with human things,” says wise Uncle Ben, so to protect his family, Frederick must leave the only world he knows.
The world beyond the pond is frightening, but rather than hide or mope, Frederick sets out to get rid of this dangerous human thing. His only hope is to find the small human who tossed the ring into the pond, the boy chased by big men and bigger horses. The boy is in trouble, too, but how can Frederick, one little frog, save a human, much less the pond from an evil sorcerer?

Scavenger Hunt:

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Buy the book at Books 2 Read.

Winter Blogfest: Helen C. Johannes


This post is part of Long and Short Reviews’ Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win a Lord Of Druemarwin, Kindle copy, US only.

Frosted Holiday Bread (aka Stollen) for the Bread Maker

My family has strong German roots, and a traditional holiday treat for us incorporates the candied, mixed fruit associated with dark, heavy fruit cake into a sweet, light, frosted yeast bread. What my family calls “Stollen” has many European variations, some much heavier than ours. We enjoy our version of this bread at breakfast, sliced and eaten plain, although some extended family members prefer to spread it with butter. We also enjoy slices as a midday snack. After years of making “Stollen” the traditional way, kneading by hand, I converted the recipe to work with my ever-so-helpful bread maker. If you are looking for something different to accompany your holiday breakfasts, and you have a bread maker, this recipe makes something traditional easy to provide.

Dough:

¾ cup milk, warmed

2 large eggs, beaten

¼ cup sugar

¼ lb. butter (1 stick) shredded

3 cups flour, sifted

Pinch of salt

1 ½ teaspoon yeast

1 cup candied, mixed chopped fruit for fruit cake

½ cup golden raisins

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Put bread ingredients into the breadmaker in the order listed. Set on Dough and press start. When Dough cycle is finished, remove dough from breadmaker. If dough is too sticky to handle, add up to 1 cup flour and knead lightly by hand. Divide dough in half. Shape into oblong loaves and place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap sprayed with oil. Place in a warm, draft –free place and let rise for an hour. Bake one at a time at 350 F for 25 min. Move to cooling rack, brush with butter, and frost immediately.

Vanilla Glaze Frosting: 

1 cup sifted powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2-3 teaspoons milk

Colorful sprinkles

Blend with a spoon. Frosting will be thick. Spread over hot bread. Immediately dust with sprinkles before frosting sets. Optional: Add any other topping decorations desired using frosting to set in place. Cool completely.

Slice and enjoy.

Lady Raell can fight, ride, and argue politics as well as her brothers. Only being mistress of her father’s household keeps her in skirts. In Naed, the new Lord of Druemarwin, she has found devotion, a kindred spirit, and a marriage promise. But when a forgotten and unwanted betrothal comes to light, she has no choice but to run.
Amidst sweeping revolution, Naed must rally his people, fend off assassination attempts, and fight against claims he’s a traitor. Then he discovers everything about his lineage and family is a lie. And his beloved belongs to another.
With lives and a kingdom at stake, Raell and Naed must find a way to protect the innocent and save their love.

Helen C. Johannes writes award-winning fantasy romance inspired by the fairy tales she grew up reading and the amazing historical places she’s visited in England, Ireland, Scotland and Germany. She writes tales of adventure and romance in fully realized worlds sprung from pure imagination and a lifelong interest in history, culture, and literature. Warriors on horseback, women who refuse to sit idly at home, and passion that cannot be denied or outrun—that’s what readers will find in her books.

Blog | Goodreads

Buy the book at Amazon.

LASR Anniversary Scavenger Hunt: Bloodstone by Helen C. Johannes


Thanks for joining us on our 12th anniversary scavenger hunt! There are two ways to enter to win and it’s easy to play– first read the blurb below, then answer the question on the first Rafflecopter. You might win a $100 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC. Follow and visit authors social media pages on the second rafflecopter and you’re entered to win another $100 Amazon/BN GC!

What if looking at the face of the man you loved meant death?

Years ago, warrior Durren Drakkonwehr was cursed by a mage. Now feared and reviled as the Shadow Man, he keeps to himself, only going to town to trade rare bloodstones—petrified dragon’s blood—for supplies. Though he hides his face, he can’t hide his heart from the woman who haunts his dreams…

Needing bloodstones for a jewelry commission, Mirianna and her father journey across the dreaded Wehrland where the beast-men roam. When their party is attacked, only the Shadow Man can save them. Strangely drawn to him, Mirianna offers herself in return for her father’s rescue.

Living in the ruined fortress with the Shadow Man, Mirianna slowly realizes that a flesh-and-blood man—not a fiend—hides there in hoods and darkness. But are love and courage enough to lift the curse and restore the man?

Buy the book at Amazon.

Scavenger Hunt:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Winter Blogfest: Helen C. Johannes

This post is part of Long and Short Reviews’ Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win a Kindle e-book copy of BLOODSTONE, US only.

Coping with the Winter Wonderland…


This is what I do when it’s cold outside—and for us it’s cold and snowy for five months of the year! I stay inside with my handy electric throw blanket. I read, write, and watch movies. And I bake.

Staying inside means planning shopping and errands around the snow/ice/freezing rain forecast and daylight hours. It means cozying up at the kitchen table with a cup of hot tea while DH blows the snow from the driveway. It means watching the neighborhood kids frolic in the park across the street from the warmth of my living room. If it sounds as if I’m a winter hermit, you got it.

My local library is my lifeline. We stop by at least once a week, sometimes more. Old movies and new, new books and old are just the tonic for the winter blahs. I grew up addicted to reading; if it’s in print, I’ll read it. (I read a lot of cereal boxes as a child.) I take a book everywhere. Thank goodness for e-readers!

You’d think since I’m not such a fan of winter, I wouldn’t write winter into my books, but it makes an appearance more often than not. It’s such a useful metaphor for hardship, loneliness, and challenge. The movie Frozen has that absolutely right.

To warm up the house and fill it with delicious smells, I bake: pies, cakes, cookies, breads. There’s nothing like a flavorful treat, fresh from the oven, accompanied by glass of milk or hot beverage. Here’s a favorite recipe of mine that can be enjoyed any time of the year:

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Ingredients
• ½ cup shortening
• ½ cup white sugar
• ½ cup brown sugar, packed
• 2 eggs, beaten
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• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 and 2/3 cups oatmeal
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Directions
1. Cream shortening with sugars; then add beaten eggs, milk and vanilla extract.
2. Combine mixture with oatmeal, chocolate chips and dried cranberries.
3. Add flour sifted with soda and salt. Beat thoroughly.
4. Drop by teaspoonful onto non-stick baking sheets, two inches apart. Bake 10-12 minutes at 350°F. Makes about 3 dozen.


What if looking at the face of the man you loved meant death? Years ago, warrior Durren Drakkonwehr was cursed by a mage. Now feared and reviled as the Shadow Man, he keeps to himself, only going to town to trade rare bloodstones–petrified dragon’s blood–for supplies. Though he hides his face, he can’t hide his heart from the woman who haunts his dreams… Needing bloodstones for a jewelry commission, Mirianna and her father journey across the dreaded Wehrland where the beast-men roam. When their party is attacked, only the Shadow Man can save them. Strangely drawn to him, Mirianna offers herself in return for her father’s rescue. Living in the ruined fortress with the Shadow Man, Mirianna slowly realizes that a flesh-and-blood man–not a fiend–hides there in hoods and darkness. But are love and courage enough to lift the curse and restore the man?

About the Author: Helen C. Johannes lives in the Midwest with her husband and grown children. Her first book, THE PRINCE OF VAL-FEYRIDGE, is an EPIC winner in Fantasy Romance. Her second book, BLOODSTONE, is a Launching a Star Winner in Fantasy Romance.

Growing up, she read fairy tales, Tolkien, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Agatha Christie, Shakespeare, and Ayn Rand, an unusual mix that undoubtedly explains why the themes, characters, and locales in her writing play out in tales of love and adventure. A member of Romance Writers of America, she credits the friends she has made and the critiques she’s received from her chapter members for encouraging her to achieve her dream of publication. When not working on her next writing project, she teaches English, reads all kinds of fiction, enjoys walks, and travels as often as possible.

Blog

Buy the book on Amazon.

Winter Blogfest: Helen C. Johannes

winterblogfestheader_2016

This post is part of Long and Short’s Review Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win a Kindle copy of BLOODSTONE..

Winter Wonderland

Winter will soon arrive in our neck of the woods. Last year it arrived on Christmas Eve, just in time for the traditional White Christmas, with about an inch of pretty white fluff. About seven inches of snow came down just before the New Year.
It was the picture-perfect snowfall, thick flakes coming down with no wind, making the trees in my yard look like something out of a fairy tale (the Dancing Princesses, maybe?). I went outside that night and was instantly transported back to my childhood.

My friends and I used to walk to the movie theater, escorted by one or more of our parents, and I recall quite vividly a magical snowy night when we walked home after the feature. The air was completely still. A couple of inches of snow had freshly fallen. Trees and bushes were decoratively draped in it. Our boots crunched and squeaked in the silent air. The temperature must have been near 30 because I don’t remember being cold at all as I breathed in that uniquely fresh air that’s present only after a snowfall. All around us, in the light of the streetlamps, the snow sparkled and twinkled. It looked as though a rainbow had frozen and sprinkled the snow with colorful crystals. I fancied they were jewels, scattered by a giant’s hand for us to enjoy. (I was about eight or nine then and already a great fan of fairy tales.)

Now, every winter I look forward to a night like that one—a magical, still night with freshly fallen snow sparkling with a multitude of colors. The air always smells fresh, uniquely clean. My boots always crunch and squeak. And I always have to stand for a moment enjoying the fantastical spread of jewels and remembering.

What if looking at the face of the man you loved meant death?

Years ago, warrior Durren Drakkonwehr was cursed by a mage. Now feared and reviled as the Shadow Man, he keeps to himself, only going to town to trade rare bloodstones–petrified dragon’s blood–for supplies. Though he hides his face, he can’t hide his heart from the woman who haunts his dreams…
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Needing bloodstones for a jewelry commission, Mirianna and her father journey across the dreaded Wehrland where the beast-men roam. When their party is attacked, only the Shadow Man can save them. Strangely drawn to him, Mirianna offers herself in return for her father’s rescue.

Living in the ruined fortress with the Shadow Man, Mirianna slowly realizes that a flesh-and-blood man–not a fiend–hides there in hoods and darkness. But are love and courage enough to lift the curse and restore the man?

About the Author:Helen C. Johannes lives in the Midwest with her husband and grown children. Growing up, she read fairy tales, Tolkien, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Agatha Christie, Shakespeare, and Ayn Rand, an unusual mix that undoubtedly explains why the themes, characters, and locales in her writing play out in tales of love and adventure. A member of Romance Writers of America, she credits the friends she has made and the critiques she’s received from her chapter members for encouraging her to achieve her dream of publication. When not working on her next writing project, she reads all kinds of fiction, enjoys walks, and travels as often as possible.

Website

Buy the book at Amazon.