Dreams of Perfection Release Day

DreamsofPerfection5050It’s release day for Dreams of Perfection, Book #1 in the Dreams Come True Series! Yay! In honor of this momentous occasion (it’s momentous to me anyway) I’m offering a recipe.

But first, a little something about Dreams of Perfection.

What if perfection isn’t truly perfect?

Best-selling romance writer, Darcy Butler, is holding out for perfection in the form of her own carefully-crafted heroes. Once blissfully engaged to be married, Darcy’s post-traumatic commitment phobia is depriving her of the very thing she wants most: her very own happily-ever-after. Now, here she is just six months shy of her thirtieth birthday, and not a Prince Charming in sight.

Successful lawyer, Josh Ryan, is the boy-next-door with a soft spot for the less fortunate, and Darcy’s best friend without benefits. Darcy often comes to him lamenting her love-life, or the lack thereof, whereupon Josh patiently doles out his sage advice. Problem is Josh is in love with Darcy.

But when Darcy finds herself looking into the handsome face of the man who graces the cover of her soon-to-be-released novel, she’s convinced her dreams of perfection have come true. Or have they?

Dreams of Perfection is available now on Kindle.

And now for the recipe. Darcy’s world famous Gourmet Pigs in a Blanket! Enjoy!

Darcy’s Gourmet Pigs in a Blanket

Ingredients:

  • 8 sheets phyllo dough, thawed
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 4 Italian sausages of your choice (spicy or sweet)
  • 4 tbs. Mayonnaise
  • 4 tbs. Sour Cream
  • 4 tsp. Chopped Parsley
  • 4 tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 2 tsp. White Wine Vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground Red Pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.

abc_Pigs_in_a_Blanket_rocco_100302_mainLay one sheet of phyllo on a work surface (cover the remaining phyllo with a slightly damp kitchen towel to keep it from drying out). Spray the phyllo sheet generously with cooking spray. Top with another sheet of phyllo. Spray the second sheet of phyllo with cooking spray. Cut the phyllo stack lengthwise into three strips (each strip should measure about 3×9 inches).

Place one piece of hot dog at the end of each strip. Fold the sides of the phyllo in to overlap the edges of the hot dog pieces. Roll the hot dogs up tightly to encase them in phyllo. Place the rolled hot dogs, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet.

Repeat the process with the remaining hot dogs and phyllo. When all of the hot-dog packages have been assembled, spray them lightly with cooking spray, and bake until they are golden brown and crispy, about 16 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise through the ground red pepper, and refrigerate for one hour before serving.

Serve the pigs in a blanket with the spicy mustard sauce for dipping. Yum!

Dreams of Perfection Sneak Peek

DreamsofPerfection5050Dreams of Perfection, Book #1 in the Dreams Come True Series, is set for release next Wednesday! I’m so excited to introduce Darcy, my slightly hair-brained, post-traumatic commitment phobic heroine. Here’s another little sneak peek at my gal, with her best guy-friend Josh:

Darcy tapped on the door as she jiggled the key in the lock. “It’s me,” she called out as she entered.

“Well thank God for that, since it could have been any one of the other hundred people who have a key to my apartment.” Josh Ryan didn’t bother getting up from his prone position on the couch. “How’d you know I’d be home?”

“It’s Wednesday night. You never miss an episode of Survivor.” Darcy dropped her purse and keys on the kitchen table before opening the refrigerator in search of her favorite diet soda. “God, my feet are killing me.” She slipped off her shoes and padded into the living room.

“What do you expect? Walking around in those stilts?” Josh picked up the remote and paused the TV, before sitting up. He raked his hands through his tousled dark brown hair and turned his attention to Darcy. “So, what’s up?”

Darcy plopped down into an oversized leather chair next to the sofa and draped her bare legs over the arms. “Oh, you know. Another blind date.” She grimaced, then took a sip of her soda.

“You’re a glutton for punishment,” he said, shaking his head. He plucked the soda can from Darcy’s fingers and took a generous pull, made a face, and handed it back to her. “How do you drink that stuff?”

Taking the can, she shrugged. “I’m a girl. Anyway, Laura made him seem so great.” Her voice sounded petulant, even to her own ears.

“The fact that Laura set you up should have been your first clue.” Josh sighed, propping his elbows on his knees, and hanging his head. He lifted his head and quirked an eyebrow at her, his warm brown eyes glittering with amusement. “What was wrong with this one?”

“Don’t look at me like that. He hates baseball. And he disparaged my profession. You know I couldn’t date anyone who didn’t love baseball and respect my writing.”

“Okay. Mr. Right isn’t Mr. Right unless he loves baseball and supports your work. But why the desperate rush? How many dates have you been on the last two months, anyway?”

“You mean how many first dates? Fifteen, if you count that musician from the East Village.” She grimaced. Shaking the now-empty soda can, she frowned. “According to mathematical theory, I should have found my love match three dates ago.”

Josh snorted. “I repeat, why the rush?” He rose, and, taking the can from her, headed to the kitchen. “Want another?” he called.

“No.” Darcy heard him pop the top on another soda. Why the reluctance to tell Josh the reason for her all-out hunt for Mr. Right? She’d always been able to tell him anything, even the gory details of Doug’s infidelity.

Perhaps because she could barely admit it to herself. She, writer of nine best-selling romances, couldn’t lay claim to a romance of her own. Now, here she was just six months shy of her thirtieth birthday, and not a Prince Charming in sight.

Josh resumed his seat on the sofa, munching on a pretzel, and gave her a direct look. “Ms. Butler, please answer the question.”

She huffed out a breath. “It’s just that, well, you know what happens this October.”

“The Yankees win the World Series,” he said, his face earnest.

“Well, that, too. But I’m talking about my birthday.”

“Ah, the Big 3-0. And your biological clock is ticking, right?”

Darcy tried to hide her embarrassment by rustling the bag in search of a pretzel, then taking the soda can from Josh’s hand to take a sip. “Like a time bomb in an episode of 24.” She shuddered and glanced at the can of regular soda in her hand. “How do you drink this stuff?”

“I’m a guy.” He reached out and tugged on her well-manicured big toe with its sin-city-red nail polish. “Darcy, you can’t force chemistry or love. It’ll happen when you least expect it.” Josh stood, grabbed the half-eaten bag of pretzels from her, and leaned over to buss her forehead before heading back to the kitchen.

“I create chemistry all the time. Every time I write a novel. Why can’t I create a little in my own life?” Darcy sulked.

“Oh, hey, speaking of novels”—Josh dropped down on the sofa, clearly leading the witness in another direction—“did you figure out that sticky plot problem?”

“Yeah, I had to kill off Ken.”

“That’s too bad. I really liked him.”

“Yeah. Me, too.”

Still sad over Ken’s demise, she shook her head then flashed Josh a smile. “Anyway, are we still on for the Yankees season opener Friday?”

“Do the Yankees hate the Red Sox? Now, get out of here so I can find out who gets voted off this week.”

Creative Romance Month – Alternative Dinner Venues

vday1-300x225It’s Creative Romance Month, and this month I’m blogging about creative ways to show you care. Going out for a candlelight dinner for two is always romantic, but what about shaking things up a bit? Go for something off-the-beaten path. Here are five alternatives to the candlelight dinner for two.

 

1. Cuddle up for a night-time picnic. We’ve all had picnic lunches at the park, or by the lake, but what about at night? Put together a simple picnic basket, with vdd-couple-under-the-starscheeses, fruit, a crusty bread, wine or champagne, and of course chocolate. Toss down a blanket at your favorite park, or better yet, in your own backyard. If it’s chilly, cuddle up and listen to the night sounds and gaze at the stars.

 

2. Enjoy a beach bonfire built for two. After a romantic dinner out, have desert on thebonfires beach next to a roaring fire. S’mores are perfect.

3. If you’re lucky enough to live on the water and have a boat, take the boat out and drop anchor. Dine on your favorite portable foods like fried chicken, potato salad, and chocolate cake. If you don’t have a boat, a dock will do just fine.

Rooftop-dinner-NYC-768x10244. Up on the roof. If you live in a city high-rise, dine on the roof, with the lights of the city spread out around you, and the sounds of traffic far below.

5. Take in an outdoor concert. Many concerts in the park allow patrons to bring food, so pack a cooler and a blanket and maybe do a little dancing beneath the stars.

Have you found some romantic alternative dinner venues? Do tell.