Monday, 27 April 2020

The Gluten Free author's guide to yummy home cooking (as long as you keep your eyes shut)

I think it is, anyway.

Hi all, yes, I know long time no chat. It's been weird hasn't it, not going out socially distancing and so no nice places to chat about.

Actually I have to to chat about The Grove in Aukland, and Ma's Food, fish and fries in Napier, and Erik's in Queenstown and Wanaka, New Zealand. 

Yes, just before we all battened down the hatches we were in New Zealand, on the most amazing holiday. We got home two weeks before we began the stay at home. Those gluten free places were absolutely spot on. In fact Erik's only sells gluten free so you can imagine how brilliant that was...

Plus Voegel's g-f bread, as good as Warburton's and that's saying something.

Now, home in Scotland with eating out a fond memory, and my local Coop absolutely pulling the stops out (for the size of our village it's brilliant and the staff are great) and stocking as much as they possibly can, I can get all the basics needed but there are somethings I can't. Of course they are the things I really want (Schar Rich Tea/Marie biscuits and Nairns oat and fruit biscuit breaks, M&S Butter chicken curry and sausage rolls, Genius fruit loaf) However that means a 20 mile journey, and let's face it, they aren't exactly essential.

So I'm baking. Adapting recipes from Gluten full to gluten free, Making my own self raising flour (as I can only get plain gluten free flour here) and getting a lot of satisfaction out of it (and probably a lot of inches on the hips...)

The lovely hubby is of course taste testing. He did say why did I keep baking...I replied he didn't have to eat it... His reply was a sort of a 'you what?' look.

There's been a lot of hmmm is this better, or that, or... 
some failures, (first lot of pastry, no idea what went wrong, except it wasn't my usual flour) some not as good as others but in the main I've got it down to three favourite recipes, easy to make, and oh so easy to eat...

I'm not a pretty baker, but if you close your eyes as you eat the can't see that can you?

Digestives (which I put currants into for the lovely hubby) this lot was a bit uneven, I have got better, just don't think to take a picture

Scones (and yes, my local Coop does have clotted cream...) and I make them small on purpose.

Banana Bread, which seems to be a lockdown staple in oh so many households.

I wanted to be able to add Maid of Honour buns in here—but the pastry still isn't up to scratch, must try harder.

The recipes for the Banana Bread and Digestives are both from a cookery book called Whitworth's Spice of Life, circa early fifties, that is stained lost its cover, and one of my most prized possessions. The recipes are all in pounds and ounces of course, and cooker temperature in Fahrenheit, but as I like using lbs and oz, and can translate heat to my Aga, that's fine by me. All I've done is substituted gluten free flour.

The Scone recipe is one I've fiddled with, because by trial and error we decided we wanted less salt than the recipe says. (also double the amount of xanthan gum as mine is shall we say somewhat aged...)

This week I'll be making my g-f batter for fish (flour and sparkling water), and I'm trying to make sultana cookies that are chewy not crunchy. No luck so far, but I will try again.

I'd love to try bread but...can you use yeast ten years out of date????

(Guess who mucked out the baking cupboard?)

Hopefully soon I'll be able to chat about places... until then, stay safe and happy eating,

love Raven xx

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Leah-day-Saturday. A chance to catch up with Leah Bronsen and her latest great story, Shade Addiction

Hi all, 

I think this is just the thing to give your spirits a lift.

The lovely, and talented Leah Bronsen has a new book out... 

Ex-boxer Mike Logan struggles to put a brutal past behind and make ends meet as a bus driver. When a young runaway settles for an all-night ride, he seizes the chance to do a good deed—get her home safely. But first, they’ll drive around and talk.

What he doesn’t anticipate is that this broken night angel is also a sexy little minx needing a lot more…and not just the gentle kind.

Available from

Universal buy link

Put the book on your to-read shelf on Goodreads




She gives me a long, languorous look. I think I know what it means: She’s interested by my wild side. Dark attracts dark. She believes she’s found the same kind of fallen angel as she is, a soul mate.

Wrong, kiddo. What you need is someone good, not broken like me.

She reaches over the table to pat my chest. “So hard. Jesus. You definitely work out.”

Her touch sends electric sparks to my groin. My cock pulses. I push her hand away. “Don’t do that.”


“It’s inappropriate.”


I sigh. “I’m thirty-two, you’re what?”


“Nineteen, that’s very young. I could easily be accused of taking advantage of you. Did you see how the waitress treated me?”

She crosses her arms underneath her boobs. “But I’m an adult, and I have boyfriends.”

“You have boyfriends.”


“Like, many?”

“Yeah.” She holds my gaze.

I don’t know why I had to make a deal of that.

She continues, “So, it’s not like I’d let anybody touch me if I didn’t want them to.”

“Well, I don’t want you to touch me. Let’s go.”

About the author

Lea Bronsen likes her reads hot, fast, and edgy, and strives to give her own stories the same intensity. After a deep dive on the unforgiving world of gangsters with her debut novel Wild Hearted, she divides her writing time between romantic suspenses, dark erotic romances, and crime thrillers.

Meet Lea Bronsen on

Happy reading,

Love Raven xx

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Thoughts on clothes costs and those damned magazine features about so called affordable fashion...

My soap box is getting a lot of use at the moment. Am I getting stroppier in my old age, or am I just feeling vocal about things that annoy me? Probably a bit of both, to be honest.

I reckon I'm in one of those, you've got to be kidding me, why on earth am I wasting my time with this magazine/article/programme moods.

About what? 

Clothes. Accessories...And what some so called fashion writers call affordable, everyday wear. 

Only £420...$573...€350...or whatever. For an everyday item of clothing. Or a bag...pair of shoes... Yes well...

Am I the only one who think's thats not quite in their everyday affordable range? Who reads the articles and has to suppress the urge to throw said article across the room. Who would love an article where everyday is actually more of a let's go to the high street and chainstore and find something we can wear and not worry about getting curry, ink or whatever on it or ripping it? Because if it's fashionable now, it won't be next year.

Good quality items you can wear for years different. I've a few things in my wardrobe like that. Not all expensive either. One of my most worn and loved dresses was a sale bargain in a well know high street store. 
It cost me the princely sum of £1 around 10 years ago and is still going strong.

(No, it's not our house—I wish.) 

My favourite, everyday top was full price, around £7 years ago and is still worn a lot. Not going out, for a meal or whatever any more, but still very wearable.  I have trousers, jeans, skirts etc that still fit, still look good and weren't pricey. I hauled a pair of trousers out the other day. Lovely hubby did the 'hmm are they new stuff?' I giggled. I bought them at least 12 years ago, and they get hauled out every year.

I'll hold my hand up, I do have a few, more expensive items. The dress I bought to wear as mother of the bride...(Probably never to be worn again) A designer outlet handbag (that was from my lovely hubby, and only gets used when it isn't going to rain) A big midi length warm puffa-type coat...(worth every penny when several years ago we went to Iceland)...

I might not be typical, in that I work from home, and my everyday wear tends to be jeans or hippy skirts, flip flops in summer, trainers in winter, and whatever top I grab out of the wardrobe. Which is full of clothes...most of which are high street, and sale bargains.

What do you think? Do you like reading about stuff you'll never wear or afford, or just sometimes would you like an article that you can relate to?

Happy shopping,

love Raven xx

Saturday, 7 March 2020

Dear British Airways, long haul, Gluten Free doesn't mean Bland and boring., and inedible.

Nor does it mean, vegan, vegetarian, low calorie, or any other special diet people follow.
Yes, of course people who can't eat gluten may also have to follow another diet, but, gluten free means exactly that. No more no less.
No wheat, barley, rye and in some cases (like me) oats. Change those round and you get no... BROW...
Easy eh?

You see British Airways, the thing is...I'd love to say BA-GF is Blooming Awesome-Great Food.

Sadly I can't. To me it's Blooming Awful-Grotty Food. 

Unless it's the London to Glasgow route and back. The food is excellent, some of the best GF airline food I've had. So you can do it...

Gluten Free does not have to be bland. There is more to a gf meal than overcooked flavourless chicken, soggy rice, overcooked and tasteless veg and wait for it...lettuce, lettuce, melon, melon, melon...

If other airlines can produce good tasty gf food, why can't you?

(Thank goodness for fizz)

Jet 2... excellent breakfast, lovely roast chicken dinner. 

Qantas...some of the best lamb chops I've ever tasted... A gorgeous tomato and bean soup...

Cathay Dragon...congee...Nice fruit...

I've eaten well on Virgin, KLM, Qatar...

Why, oh why, are you so lacking here? 

Recently we flew home from Hong Kong. 

The first course arrived. Salmon. Okay, it had no taste and came with enough lettuce for three meals, but still. Ohh, I thought things are looking up. I was soon disabused of that idea.

In the main, the choice of food put together on the plate was to be polite, interesting to say the least. In fact at one point the purser and I had a good laugh (it was that or cry) as we tried to decide what the lump of some white stuff was. To be rude, it looked like something the cat had sicked up. I think (though I can't be sure) it was egg white scrambled egg...It tasted of cardboard. This was served with soggy carrots, the inevitable soggy spinach and tasteless boiled potatoes. Why oh why? (sadly no photo as I didn't have my phone handy)

As an aside, how come potatoes for breakfast but not for dinner (you guess, the tasteless chicken came with spinach and soggy rice. There was a lot of lettuce as well.

The bread rolls... best to draw a veil over them. (at least they aren't stale rice cakes, but they were still inedible.)

And...mega moan, why do you not have a choice of gluten free meals to preorder in business or first?

We've paid the same price as other passengers in those seats. They get a choice. We get take it or leave it, and have no idea what we will be eating. 

Plus, it seems to me you're onto a good thing when whatever class you're in, you get the same gluten free meal. The other passengers don't, so why do we? And, to say, well, gf needs to be produced separately, is no good reason. Produce two options, say we need to preorder...

I doubt you'll read this, let alone answer, but I feel better getting it off my chest.

We're flying with you later in the year. Do you need a consultant on what is a cheap, easy and tasty gluten free meal? If so, I'm your woman.

And just to finish off, hows this for a pud? 

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

It's Bethday, today. A chance to find out about Beth D Cart's new book, The Scarlet Dove

Hi all,

I'm privileged to be able to show this gorgeous cover and give you some info about Beth's latest book, The Scarlet Dove

Can Liza find her place in a lawless world?
When Liza Trent decided to become a mail order bride out west, she never imagined her fiancĂ© would die before she arrived. His death places her in debt, and the only way to pay off the money is by auctioning off her virginity against her will. When she’s rescued by two handsome men, she mistakenly thinks they’re assassins. Despite her reservations, she accepts their protection.
Only the two men, Apollo Beck and Blue Hawke, aren’t assassins. They’re Texas Rangers sent after a man who preys on women, and their dangerous hunt has just brought Liza into the line of fire.
Confused with the attraction she feels for two men, Liza has a difficult decision before her: commit to loving Apollo and Blue or commit to her burning desire to become a doctor…unless she’s found and taken for revenge first.

Content Warning: contains violence, strong language, and explicit sex scenes, including anal sex
Genre(s): Historical Romance / Menage

5 writing pet peeves that simply drive me insane…
1. Work.  Isn’t this the bane of every author’s life? By day I’m a pharmacy tech in a retail store, standing on my feet all day and dealing with many people. By the time I get home, my brain is fried.
2. Time. This harkens back to the work thing, where my brain is fried. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with having too much stuff going on in my life and not enough time to write. It can be so frustrating.
3. Social Media.  I spend way too much damn time flittering between Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
4. My muse.  I’m hard at work trying to write out a complicated and scene and she’s like “Wait!  I’ve got this awesome idea for another story!” Most of the time she wakes me up at three am.  Bitch.
5. Character changes.  Most of the time I can envision the beginning and ending to a story, but every once in a while the ending slips away, due to the direction of where the characters take me.  When that happens I struggle a lot to maintain the plot.  I’ve shelved some great stories because of this.


"It's him," Liza whispered in a hate-filled tone. "The man who tricked me."
"Reynolds," Blue spat.
"All three of you!" Reynolds screamed. "You'll pay! You'll pay for everything!"
The gun wavered in an unstable hand. Blue and Apollo glanced at each other and then charged forward. A shot exploded and Apollo went down. Blue tackled Reynolds to the ground. The two men rolled around, each trying to get the upper hand.
Apollo did his best to try to focus on the two men, but agony lanced through him as he tried to get to his feet. Black spots danced in front of his eyes, and he honestly didn't know how bad he was shot.
And then a pair of soft, steady hands took his away. "Let me see," Liza softly said.
"Uh," he moaned. "Blue—"
"Is holding his own," she interrupted him. Though she carefully probed, the pain rippled through Apollo, and he halted her hand. "You need medical help," she told him.
"Get Reynolds first," he panted.
Her eyebrows arched. "You know him?"
"I was sent to kill him."
Her mouth fell open, and she looked from him to where Blue still fought with Reynolds.
"There's a blade in my boot," he whispered, wiggling his right foot and bringing her attention back to him. "Give it to Blue."
She hesitated for only a second before reaching for the marked boot. He felt her hand slide in and grab the hilt. She slid it free and rose, turning to the fight that had attracted several people's attention.
"I have a knife, Blue!" she called out.
In a flash, Blue spun away from Reynolds and grabbed the knife from Liza's shaky hand. As he turned back, he let it fly. They watched as it flipped end over end and buried itself into Reynolds's shoulder, right where the arm and chest met. For a moment, no one moved. Then the confused crowd rushed to help Reynolds, who stumbled away, and Blue turned to grab Liza's hand and hurry over to Apollo.
"You need medical attention," he said without preamble, mimicking Liza's earlier statement.
"Not here," Apollo growled. "Help me up."
"You should rest," Liza said.
"You think anyone is going to help the people responsible for burning down half the town?" As he sat up with a gasp of pain, Blue let go of Liza's hand to help him stand. "Is Reynolds dead?"
They all looked at the small crowd that had moved in to help Reynolds when the blade had got him, only to see the crowd starting to point at them and talk. Reynolds was nowhere to be found.


Bio & Social Media Links:

I like writing about the very ordinary woman thrust into extraordinary circumstances, so my heroines will probably never be lawyers, doctors or corporate highrollers.  I try to write characters who aren't cookie cutters and push myself to write complicated situations that I have no idea how to resolve, forcing me to think outside the box.  I love writing characters who are real, complex and full of flaws, heroes and heroines who find redemption through love. I love to hear from readers so I’ve made it really easy to find me on the web:

Happy reading,

love, Raven xx

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

It's that in between books stage...and I'm twitchy

Hi all, it's Tuesday, 
I'm on the settee with a cup of coffee on the table, eyeing up the cakes just out of reach (on purpose), sitting in front of my lap top and toying with a couple of ideas and part stories.

And wondering what to do next.

(pic, source pinterest)

It's not that I haven't got some stories in the making—I have. I'm also half way through writing a Regency mystery-romance with the lovely Cassie O'Brien. That is first on my next list if you get the gist. However it needs concentration as I'm checking we have our timeline and continuity right, and today, there's a lot happening in the Raven household. (No I do not have, or have moved the hammer, sticky tape, made a cuppa found x, y or z...
So, after going over the first chapter three times I've decided that's for when I have a clear, free and uninterrupted few hours later in the week. 

But that means now I'm twitchy. It's all well and good knowing what's on my list for a few days and weeks hence (I sort of do, well for the next week or so anyway) but I like a story on the go. 

And today I have three I could write and none are screaming 'me, me, do me.'

It's a great dilemma in one way, I don't have writer's block just writer's argh, what next.

I think I'll go and read a book, eat the cakes and make another cup of coffee.

How much do you bet I'll get a can you please do this asap email from someone?

Happy reading,

love Raven xx

Thursday, 2 January 2020

blimey what a roller coaster of a ride...

Yes, it is me. The me who seems to have disappeared from the blogging scene this last year. My bad.
I've had a roller coaster of a 2019... Lots of highs...lots of lows.

(source: pinterest)

As most of you know it started with a massive low with the death of my bestie, the late great Doris O'Connor, went on to the high of out last joint story being published.

I've had a best seller on in three categories The Duke's Seduction of Lady M.

Plus a few more books out.

I've been lucky enough to visit lots of the UK, plus, South Africa, California, Portugal, Malta and Gozo, and Lanzarote.

Eaten some great gluten free food and some not so great

Watched (and got joyfully tearful) as our daughter got married, gained the perfect son in law, seen our son happy with his special lady, and spent time with the lovely hubby, both at home and away.

I've carried on my habit of writing anywhere I can get my laptop out, made lots of notes, had work accepted and yes, rejected.

It's been interesting to say the least.

I've started this year I hope, as the way I want to go on. More interaction, blog posts, guest blog posts, chat, fun, competitions, giveaways and writing. Lots of writing.

So on that note, I'm back off to my edits for my next Katy Lilley romcom, What Maisie Did Next.

But I'll be back, sooner rather than later.

Happy reading,

love Raven xx