Monday, February 28, 2011

Greek Food - Spanakopita (spinach pie)

Some of the best food I've ever tasted comes from one of the many Greek restaurants in Tarpon Springs, Florida. Here is my favorite recipe for spanakopita:

• Cooking spray
• 10 sheets of phyllo dough
• 1⁄2 cup butter, melted
• 1 pound fresh spinach, washed, patted dry, and chopped
• 2 eggs
• 1⁄2 cup chopped onion
• 2 cups ricotta or small curd cottage cheese
• 1 cup grated feta cheese
• Salt and pepper to taste

1. Spray a 13 x 8 baking pan with cooking spray.
2. Place a layer of phyllo in the pan.
3. Brush the first layer of phyllo with melted butter.
4. Repeat layering the phyllo and melted butter until there are 5 sheets in the pan.
5. Place the spinach in a bowl and lightly salt. Allow to stand for 10 minutes.
6. Beat the eggs then add onion and cheeses.
7. Fold the spinach into the egg, onion and cheese mixture.
8. Add salt and pepper to taste.
9. Spread the entire mixture over the phyllo.
10. Layer the remaining phyllo over the top, brushing
each layer with melted butter.
11. Bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately 35 to 40 minutes.
12. Cut into squares.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tarpon Springs, Florida

One of my favorite places in the entire world is Tarpon Springs, Florida. In addition to being on the beautiful, sunny West Coast of Florida, the community has a strong Greek influence. Walk down the sponge docks along Dodecanese Blvd., and you'll be hard pressed to miss the strains of Greek music and shouts of "Opa!" from the restaurants and shops.

One of the unique things you'll find in many of the shops is a vast selection of natural sponges harvested in the Gulf of Mexico.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Exciting Times!

This is an exciting career year for me. I have 7 books coming out, and I'm working on more projects that look promising. Publishing is a business with no guarantees, so I'm trying to enjoy the good times after many years of being on a roller-coaster ride.

Sweet Baklava and Delight Yourself in the Lord...Even on Bad Hair Days (devo with Sandra Bricker, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Trish Perry) have March release dates. Shades of the Past, a Heartsong Presents book set in the Mennonite community in Sarasota, Florida, is going to book club members this spring.

Then in the fall, Love Finds You on Christmas Morning (2-novella generational anthology with Trish Perry) is being released in September. The other two Heartsong Presents books in the Sarasota series, Trusting Her Heart and Unlikely Match, are going to the book club in the fall. Then the 3-in-1 repackaged West Virginia Heartsongs, Appalachian Weddings, will be available in bookstores.

People sometimes ask what it takes to have a successful publishing career. There's no easy or single answer, but there are some common traits I see among other multi-published authors.

Being an author requires a ton of hard work, tenacity, motivation, study, willingness to change and shift, and the ability to work with editors. The time to get serious about being a published author starts long before an editor offers a contract. And once you have a taste of success, if you want to keep the momentum going, you can't stop. In fact, I find that I have to work harder than ever, even when I get bad reviews, rejections (yes, I still get them), and have the temptation to go outside and play before my work is done.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Delight Yourself in the Lord…Even on Bad Hair Days!

Sandra Bricker, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, Trish Perry, and I are happy to announce that our women’s devotional Delight Yourself in the Lord…Even on Bad Hair Days is available for pre-order at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Cokesbury, Books a Million, and

Here’s a sneak preview of what to expect. Enjoy!

Visit author Sandra Bricker’s blog for even more information about our devotional.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Read all about Valentine’s Day Symbols and Traditions from around the world to heighten this day of romance and love.

Then cook something delicious together before, during, or after a romantic date.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentine’s Day Coming Soon!

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, so if you haven’t already picked up something for your sweetheart, you need to do it now.

Need ideas for a fabulous gift or something romantic to do? Here are some articles I wrote that might help:
Gift Ideas for a Man
Gift Ideas for a Woman
Inexpensive Valentine’s Day Gifts
At-Home Valentine Dates


Monday, February 7, 2011

Easy Baklava Recipe!

In honor of my book, Sweet Baklava, that will be released on March 1, I would like to share a super simple baklava recipe. I have a more complicated recipe in the book, but until you get it, try making this one. They're both delicious!


• Cooking spray
• 1 lb chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough
• 1 cup melted butter
• 1 cup white sugar
• 1 cup water
• 1/2 cup honey
• 2 tsp vanilla extract


1. Spray a 9” x 13” pan with cooking spray.
2. Mix cinnamon and nuts in a medium mixing bowl.
3. Cover the bottom of the pan with phyllo and brush with melted butter.
4. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the nut mixture on top.
5. Repeat layers until all ingredients are used.
6. Finish with 3 or 4 layers of phyllo.
7. Cut the baklava into squares, rectangles, or triangles.
8. Bake in a 350 degree oven 50 minutes, until golden and crisp.
9. Mix the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the honey and vanilla and reduce the heat. Simmer for approximately 20 minutes.
10. After you remove the baklava from the oven, slowly pour the sugar, honey and water mixture over it.
11. Cool the baklava and serve.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Great News - Love Finds You on Christmas Morning!

Trish Perry and I just signed a contract with Summerside Press for a 2-novella anthology! Love Finds You on Christmas Morning will be available this coming fall. My story, "Deck the Halls," is historical, and Trish's, "Tis the Season," is contemporary. Her heroine is the great-granddaughter of mine. How fun is that!

Our anthology is set in the beautiful town of Cary, North Carolina. We're incorporating as much of the real setting as we can, but of course, since this is fiction, we'll make up a few places for our stories.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Delight Yourself in the Lord...

...Even on Bad Hair Days!

Authors Sandra Bricker, Trish Perry, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and I are excited about our new devotional that we wrote for busy women.

Delight Yourself in the Lord...Even on Bad Hair Days is now available for pre-order on Amazon and This will make a great gift for Mother's Day, and don't forget to order one for yourself.

Now take a moment to enjoy a little video the Marian Miller put together for us after we finished writing our devos. We had a blast! And yes, some of us were rather dorky in the video, but that's okay. We were letting our hair down after putting together this project.