Sunday, December 11, 2022

Christmas and New Year's Eve in THE END OF CAMELOT



THE END OF CAMELOT is Book Three of the New York Saga. Vikki McGlory Ward is the granddaughter of Vita Caputo McGlory, the heroine of FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET, set in New York City’s Lower East Side in 1894. Book Two, BOOTLEG BROADWAY, features Billy McGlory, the gifted musician who couldn’t stay out of trouble. He married his pregnant girlfriend Pru in 1933 and became Vikki’s father when he was 25. Vikki is 30 years old in FROM HERE TO CAMELOT and is desperate to find out who murdered her husband Jack Ward, on the same day, November 22, 1963, and in the same city, Dallas, Texas, as President Kennedy was assassinated. Jack went to Dallas to prevent the assassination and never came home.

The next Christmas, Vikki was growing fond of her bodyguard, Aldobrandi Po. Her godfather Rosario celebrated a traditional Italian Christmas at his Palm Beach estate:

Vikki’s siblings, Thomas and Theresa, came down, and, combined with Rosario’s family, they had the traditional Italian Christmas. On Christmas Eve, after the feast of fried eel dredged in flour and fried in olive oil, baccala and male crabs, baked mussels in tomato sauce—and stuffed with scrambled eggs, parsley, garlic, and Romano cheese—and a pincushion fish her godfather Rosario called “la ritz” in dialect, they gathered around the tree to open their presents. Rosario gave her a mahogany jewelry box with a blue Tiffany’s box in each drawer. Opening each box, she gasped in wonder at a sapphire pendant, topaz bracelet, ruby necklace, emerald choker, three-strand pearl necklace, and a diamond tiara.

She smiled over the tiara. Where would she ever wear something like that? Jackie Kennedy had never even worn one. Or had she?

Her father’s gift to her was much more practical: a shiny new .25 caliber Bauer automatic pistol fitted into a box designed to look like Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. “Thanks, Dad. I was going to buy another piece.” She had to admit, it felt custom made to fit her hand.


An Excerpt:

“It’s New Year’s Eve, we’re two people intensely attracted to each other, and the moment was perfect. Can you deny that?” Al asked her.

She didn’t know what she had the strength to deny at this point. With her knees still wobbling, she looked away and focused on the huge gravy pot simmering over a low flame. Not the only thing simmering around here, she realized, forcing her breath to even out.

“No, but I don’t know if you’re aware of my situation. I’m a widow. A recent widow. I shouldn’t be doing this. It’s forbidden,” she echoed the nuns. “It’s very disrespectful to my husband’s memory, and I’m ashamed of myself.”

“Your godfather told me you’re a widow. I’m very sorry.” His timing for the condolence could’ve been better. But what else could he have said? “Are you really ashamed of yourself? Do you think you’re being so disrespectful?”

“Of course,” she shot back. “He’s not gone two months yet.”

“Don’t, Vikki.” He traced his finger along her jawline. She tingled all over. “You have to forgive yourself. You’re human. We all are.”

“This must never happen again.” But did she really mean that? God, it had been so long since she’d been kissed that way.


Vikki glanced at the clock. Ten minutes till midnight. She ducked into the ladies’ room to touch up her lipstick and perfume. When she came out, Al walked directly towards her, arms extended. Without a word they glided onto the dance floor together. Her father started playing his promised “Stardust” and she closed her eyes, breathing in Al’s mingled scents of cologne and creme de menthe. The crowd started counting off the seconds, and at the bursts of “Happy New Year!” the band broke into “Auld Lang Syne.” She swept her glasses off, Al lowered his lips to hers, and everything converged into a blur. Her arms wound around him. She wept, for her loss, for fear of the future, of the unknown, of this man whose mouth claimed hers.


A Review From Locks, Hooks and Books: 

The End of Camelot is a fabulous read. It takes place back in time when President Kennedy was tragically assassinated. The main character, Vikki, is dealing with her own tragedy when her husband is also assassinated. She is determined to connect the two murders and find out the truth of what happened. I enjoyed the mystery and suspense. It kept me intrigued throughout. I never knew what was going to happen next. I recommend it to other readers, especially the fabulous performance of Nina Price in the audio version. She does a great job!




Thursday, December 8, 2022

Meet Jennifer Wilck and Read About Her Holiday Romance WAITING FOR A MIRACLE, and her Hanukkah Traditions


About Jennifer 

Jennifer started telling herself stories as a little girl when she couldn’t fall asleep at night. Pretty soon, her head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Even as an adult, she thinks about the characters and stories at night before she falls asleep or walking the dog. Eventually, she started writing them down. Her favorite stories to write are those with smart, sassy, independent heroines; handsome, strong and slightly vulnerable heroes; and her stories always end with happily ever after. 

Jennifer is an award-winning contemporary romance author for readers who are passionate about love, laughter, and happily ever after. Known for writing both Jewish and non-Jewish romances, her books feature damaged heroes, sassy and independent heroines, witty banter and hot chemistry. Jennifer’s ability to transport the reader into the scene, create characters the reader will fall in love with, and evoke a roller coaster of emotions, will hook you from the first page. You can find her books at all major online retailers in a variety of formats.

In the real world, she’s the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men she knows. She believes humor is the only way to get through the day and does not believe in sharing her chocolate. 

Jennifer's Hanukkah Celebrations

In our house, we celebrate Hanukkah. Through the years, many things about our celebration have changed. When the kids were young, we of course made a big deal about the holiday. We’d play music, serve latkes (potato pancakes), play dreidel and on a few of the eight nights, give presents. As the kids have gotten older, our traditions have changed. 

The entire family gets together one night to exchange gifts with the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. We all bring our menorahs—candelabras with room for nine candles—and we take big group photos of everyone lighting the candles. 

We get together with friends one night and our photos over the years show how much the kids have grown (and how willing or unwilling they are now to smile). 

One of the eight nights is dedicated to giving back. Instead of presents for ourselves, we donate to a charity. Some years we’ve made blankets and quilts for our local animal shelter. Other years we’ve sent money to a charity we all agree on—a small miracle in and of itself, since we rarely all can agree on anything. Once when the kids were little, we went to the toy store, bought toys and games for kids who didn’t have any, and brought them to a local preschool. 

My specialty for Hanukkah is making fried Oreos. The holiday celebrates the miracle of the oil lasting for eight nights, so our traditional foods are those made with lots of oil, like donuts. Several years ago, my husband and I went to a county fair in the summer and had fried Oreos. We loved them, and since they are deep fried, they fit the holiday perfectly. I found a recipe online to make them and ever since then, family and friends have demanded them every year. 

Now that my daughters are away at college, I mail their gifts early, trying to figure out the exact right time so that everything arrives on time and we can celebrate with them over FaceTime. Technology is terrific for that, but I confess to missing having them home and celebrating in person. 

So whatever you celebrate, and however you do so, I wish you and your family happy and healthy times together!


Benjamin Cohen, widowed father of six-year-old Jessie, is doing his best to hold it together through order and routine. The last thing he needs is his matchmaker mother to set him up with her next door neighbor, no matter how attractive she is.

Rachel Schaecter's dream of becoming a foster mother is right within her grasp, until her meddlesome neighbor tries to set her up with her handsome son. What's worse? He's the father of her favorite kindergarten student! She can't afford to let anything come between her and her dream, no matter how gorgeous he may be.

Can these two determined people trust in the miracle of Hanukkah to let love and light into their lives?


Six-year-old bodies were good at many things— bouncing, hugging, and racing. Rachel was thankful they were also good at hiding her surprise. Never in her wildest dreams did she imagine her favorite student, and her student’s father, would be at her neighbor’s house the same night she was invited to celebrate Hanukkah.

She met the hard gaze of Jessie’s father across the room. Eyes narrowed as if he suspected her reasons for being here. His broad shoulders were stiff. His jean-clad muscular legs were spread apart in a solid stance. Square hands fisted at his sides, and one of them held a menorah. Did he plan to throw it or club someone with it?

Giving Jessie a last pat, she rose. With an arm around Jessie, she extended her other hand to her father. “Happy Hanukkah.”

“Ms. Schaecter.”

“Mr. Cohen.”

“Oh, please,” Harriet said, “Such formality between you two. Rachel, this is my son Benny. I mean Benjamin.”

Benny. Rachel filed the information away for later, along with his flushed skin at the nickname. Interesting.

“And Benjamin, this is my neighbor, Rachel. We’re not at a school event. You can call each other by your first names.” Harriet pointed at Jessie, who gripped Rachel’s hand so hard, Rachel’s fingers lost their circulation. “Except for you,” Harriet added. “You have to call her Ms. Schaecter.”

Jessie giggled. “Yes, Grandma.”






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Connect with Jennifer


Monday, December 5, 2022

An Old Italian Holiday Recipe--Honey Balls--and an Old New York Romance

Can an Italian sweatshop worker and an Irish cop fall in love on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in 1894? The answer is a big YES, and once they’re enjoying wedded bliss in their Greenwich Village brownstone, they spend their first Christmas together feasting on her Strufoli! (Italian for honey balls).

In FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET it's 1894 on New York's Lower East Side. Irish cop Tom McGlory and Italian immigrant Vita Caputo fall in love despite their different upbringings. They know their love can survive poverty, hatred, and corruption. 


Here’s Vita’s Honey Balls recipe:

When my grandparents came from Naples and landed at Ellis Island in the early 1900s they brought many recipes with them, but only in their heads. No one brought cookbooks or recipes along with their possessions. A favorite Christmas treat is Struffoli, better known as Honey Balls. One Christmas when I was a kid, I watched my grandmother make them and scribbled down the ingredients as she sifted and mixed and baked and drizzled. Here's an accurate recipe in English!



•2 cups flour, plus extra for dusting
•1 large lemon, zested (about 2 teaspoons)
•1/2 large orange, zested (about 2 teaspoons)
•3 tablespoons sugar
•1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
•1/4 teaspoon baking powder
•1/2 stick (2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
•3 large eggs
•1 tablespoon white wine, such as pinot grigio
•1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
•Canola oil, for frying
•1 cup honey
•1/2 cup sugar
•1 tablespoon lemon juice
•1 1/2 cups hazelnuts, toasted 
•Vegetable oil cooking spray
•Sugar sprinkles, for decoration
•Powdered sugar for dusting, optional


For dough: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together 2 cups of flour, lemon zest, orange zest, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the eggs, wine, and vanilla. Pulse until the mixture forms into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece of dough until 1/4-inch thick. Cut each piece into 1/2-inch wide strips. Cut each strip of pastry into 1/2-inch pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a small ball the size of a hazelnut. Lightly dredge the dough balls in flour, shaking off any excess. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour enough oil to fill the pan about a third of the way. 

Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 375 degrees F. (If you don't have a thermometer a cube of bread will brown in about 3 minutes.). In batches, fry the dough until lightly golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. (The rested and quartered dough can also be rolled on a floured work surface into 1/2-inch thick logs and cut into equal-sized 1/2-inch pieces. The dough pieces can then be rolled into small balls and fried as above).
In a large saucepan, combine the honey, sugar, and lemon juice over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the fried dough and hazelnuts and stir until coated in the honey mixture. Allow the mixture to cool in the pan for 2 minutes.

Spray the outside of a small, straight-sided water glass with vegetable oil cooking spray and place in the center of a round platter. Using a spoon or damp hands, arrange struffoli and hazelnuts around the glass to form a wreath shape. Drizzle remaining honey mixture over the struffoli. Allow to set for 2 hours (can be made 1 day in advance). Decorate with sprinkles and dust with powdered sugar.

Remove the glass from the center of the platter and serve.

Note: To toast the hazelnuts, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven 8 to 10 minutes. Cool before using. 

Total Time: 4 hr 12 min
Prep: 1 hr 30 min
Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Meet Kathy Wheeler and Read About GAMING HELL CHRISTMAS, Volume 2 of the Georgian Romance Anthology, Just Released Yesterday


About Kathy

Kathy loves the NFL, NBA, musical theater, travel, reading, writing, and … karaoke!

A note from Kathy:

A couple of years ago, Amanda McCabe and I came up with this fabulous idea! Six young women who attended school together, each looking for their own happily ever after. With a couple of little twists. Volume one came out last year. Volume two, 12/1. Volumes 3 and 4 in the next couple of years. We have a special things planned down the road that includes unusual promotional items, but, alas, that is a story for another day. 😊


Mysteries abound at London's most fashionable Hell

The Kerse Who Saved Christmas 

Kerse: He, of the no nonsense approach, is stymied by She, a woman considered long past prime marriageability who needs a keeper more than he requires a wife. Yet the dreamy-eyed, impractical, and much too optimistic Philomena still manages to steal his heart despite her unrealistic beliefs and trust in fortune tellers.

(Also included in this 2 book anthology: THE THIEF WHO STOLE CHRISTMAS by Amanda McCabe)


Of course, no lady’s maid trailed her. The woman needed a keeper. Didn’t she realize how dangerous it was for a woman? Out and about, alone?

Someone needed to inform her, and it appeared he was the only one about. Kerse started in her direction, but a tow-headed tyke darted out and beat him to her, snipping the reticule right off her wrist and was off like a musket ball.

Her stunned gaze jarred Kerse into action.

The miscreant, who couldn’t have been more than twelve, proved agile and swift as a… a thief running for the Thames, and in broad daylight.

Kerse was on him. He swept out an arm but the urchin ducked, simultaneously tossing Lady Philomena’s reticule several feet away and its contents scattering.

The wind picked up and Kerse dove for a piece of cardstock, then went down on his knee to gather the rest of her belongings. A tablet of paper with feminine scribblings, a small pouch of coins, a stick of graphite, a lace handkerchief marked with graphite, and a book titled The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne. A horrid novel? He should have suspected. His eyes rolled skyward, and he stuffed everything back in her now soiled reticule, still holding the card, and glanced down. Then paused. Girls of Wite? Wearing white?

What was this nonsense? And who the devil was Lady X?

Shaking his head, he noted a tea to be held three days before Christmas at the La Sous Rose, then hurriedly stuffed the invitation in as well and strode back down the street meeting Lady Phil halfway.

“Did you—oh, thank heavens,” she gushed. “You were able to—oh…” Her voice trailed off in dejected disappointment. “It’s ruined.” She pawed through the clipped opening.

“I’m afraid so,” he said, surprised by the regret welling through him that he had failed her. “I’m pleased to report your coin pouch is intact.”

Then her smile lit up the gray day, showcasing the dimple in her left cheek. An engaging vision he found himself fantasizing many times over in the depths of night in his lonely bed. “More importantly,” she went on, “you saved my tablet and book, my lord. Your effort was valiant, and I couldn’t be more grateful. I don’t know how to thank you, sir.”

Plenty of ideas filled his head of his too-celibate state. Unfortunately, none of which could be shared on a public street. Her smile was so guileless, so innocent, he had to still the uneasy softening of the band across his chest. “Where is your maid, my lady? It is quite inappropriate for you to be unaccompanied,” he said more harshly than he’d intended. 

GAMING HELL CHRISTMAS VOLUME 2 is the second steamy Georgian Romance Anthology. Available everywhere! 

Purchase Link

Download an entire list of Kathy’s books at

                                          Kathy and Amanda

Other books by Kathy and Amanda

REGENCY CHRISTMAS KISSES - a collection of short stories