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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

"When I'm not writing..." with Beth Fantaskey + giveaway!

Beth Fantaskey This week, we are hosting the lovely Beth Fantaskey. You've seen her name on the blog before because both Lili and Stéphanie have discussed her books. Keep reading to see what Beth does when she's not busy writing!


As recently as maybe three years ago, I was the World’s Worst Cook. That is no exaggeration. I was TRULY TERRIBLE. The kind of person who couldn’t even boil an egg. (They would always come out strangely gummy on the outside, with rock-hard yolks.)
The problem was, I am also a mother, with three children who insist upon eating, usually several times a day. And they demand decent food. Food that doesn’t taste burnt, or raw, or like somebody accidentally used salt when the recipe called for sugar – which has actually happened in my house.

Clearly, something had to change. And one day, mulling it over, I realized that the problem wasn’t necessarily my skills, but rather my attitude.

I had always told myself that I hated cooking – probably dating back to my horrific days in middle school home economics, where I ruined a vanilla pudding by adding the cornstarch wrong, so it clumped up in disgusting balls. My teacher made me eat it, anyhow. Have you ever chewed cornstarch? It’s not pleasant.

But one day, in my forties, I thought, “What if I decided I LIKE cooking? What if I look at it not as a chore, but as a creative outlet, and a way of showing my family that I love them enough to NOT rely on Lean Cuisine every day?”

I swear, from that moment on, I found my inner Iron Chef. Apparently, years of watching Paula Deen, Emeril and Bobby Flay on Food Network while I ate hideous microwave meals had left me with this incredible body of untapped knowledge, which suddenly came pouring out.

I’d be standing at the stove, cooking chicken, and all of the sudden I’d think, “I should deglaze the pan with white wine.” Or, “Some chanterelle mushrooms would be nice with this.” Sometimes I’d actually look around the kitchen, like, “Who said that?” Only to realize that it was ME. My inner voice.

These days, I consider cooking a hobby. I squealed with delight this Christmas when I unwrapped my new immersion blender. And I really look forward to the moment, at the end of most work days, when I shut down my computer, put on my fuzzy, old slippers, and head to the kitchen to start creating. (Trust me, my kids are happier, too.)

I guess it’s a lesson in not only the power of changing one’s attitude, but that the poor, often maligned TV can sometimes teach us something, too. Thank you, Paula Deen!


Thanks for stopping by, Beth, and sharing a bit of your non-writing life! I'm jealous of your cooking skills because I'm terrible at it. :)

For more information about Beth and her books, check out her website or follow her on Facebook.


Learn more about Jessica's books:

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth FantaskeyThe undead can really screw up your senior year . . .

Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancé. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war—and save Lucius’s soul from eternal destruction.

Stephanie's thoughts

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Jessica Rules the Dark Side by Beth FantaskeyWhen Jessica Packwood found out she was a Romanian vampire princess, she had the shock of her teenage life. Turns out that was the easy part. Now, married to Prince Lucius Vladescu, she has to claim her throne and convince a vampire nation she’s fit to be their queen. But Jess can’t even order a decent meal from her castle’s Romanian staff, let alone deal with devious undead subjects who would love to see her fail.

And when Lucius is accused of murdering a vampire Elder and imprisoned without the blood he needs, Jessica finds herself alone, fighting for both their survivals. Desperate to clear her husband’s name and win his release, Jess enlists the help of her best friend Mindy Stankowicz and Lucius’s mysterious Italian cousin, Raniero Lovatu. But both of them are keeping some dark secrets. Can Jess figure out who to trust – and how to rise to power – before she loses everything, including the vampire she loves?

Full of romance, mystery, and danger, the highly anticipated sequel to Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side shows that sometimes a princess has to earn her “happily ever after” – with a sharpened stake in hand.

Lili's thoughts

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Jekel and Hyde by Beth FantaskeyJill Jekel has always obeyed her parents’ rules—especially the one about never opening the mysterious, old box in her father’s office. But when her dad is murdered, and her college savings disappear, she’s tempted to peek inside, as the contents might be the key to a lucrative chemistry scholarship.

To improve her odds, Jill enlists the help of gorgeous, brooding Tristen Hyde, who has his own dark secrets locked away. As the team of Jekel and Hyde, they recreate experiments based on the classic novel, hoping not only to win a prize, but to save Tristen’s sanity. Maybe his life. But Jill’s accidental taste of a formula unleashes her darkest nature and compels her to risk everything—even Tristen’s love—just for the thrill of being . . . bad.

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository



Beth is graciously offering one (1) paperback copy of JESSICA RULES THE DARK SIDE!

U.S. only

Giveaway ends Monday, March 11, 2013

To enter the giveaway, obey the Rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favorite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!

Authors, would you like to visit and share with us? Please email me at jennblogs (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll set it up!


Born and raised in the Toronto area, Jenn moved to St. John's, Newfoundland, eight years ago for school. She's still in school (thankfully on another degree!), now trapped in her dissertation. When she's not dissertating, which happens more often than it should, Jenn spends her time reading, watching movies, playing volleyball, travelling, and enjoying the local music scene. Her latest addictions: yoga and Almond Crunch cereal.

15 People left their mark' :

  1. nice guest post! I never knew Beth didn't like to cook..before. but good for you Beth, cooking is really fun! :)

  2. Thanks for the fun post and congrats to Beth on the new release! Ok... I fully admit that I don't like to cook and I've gotten out of cooking b/c mine is terrible. Don't have kids so I'm safe from changing but we'll see for the future!

  3. I cook all the time. Crown roast of Pork is one of my favs. I coat the pork in olive oil, 10 cloves chopped garlic, sage, rosemary, thyme, sea salt and pepper. Slow roast for about 3 to 4 hours. That's it - nice and easy yet yummy!

  4. Cooking is not my favorite thing, but I discovered a great way to make pot roast in the crock pot and it's my go to whenever I want to cook something good. It's just a pack of Lipton Onion Soup, a cup of water, a nice pot roast, some potatoes, carrots (and I add mushrooms too) and you're good to go. This weekend I used sweet potatoes, took them out and mashed them up, they were yummy.

  5. I am not a prolific cook by any means, so I love simple recipes, like mixing Italian seasonings, olive oil, and red wine vinegar into a marinade, using it to marinate some boneless, skinless chicken in the fridge for a few hours, and then baking it. Also works with Jack Daniels Barbeque sauce (yum!).

    Thanks for the guest post and giveaway!

    Shalena @ Writer Quirk

  6. I admit I'm not a great cook. I'm more the easy canned soup, salads, eggs, pizzas (frozen) of course etc...
    Great post! This post reminded me that I have the first book in paperback sitting on my tbr shelf. I gotta add the second one to my wish list. Thank you for the chance to win!
    DeAnna Schultz

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. I love this book. Really, much better than Twilight.

  9. I'm not a fancy cook by any means! But I make this really good tortilla soup that everyone eats up :)

  10. I'm not much of a cook. If it has more than 5 ingredients and 5 steps I'm not interested lol. My husband is the cook in the house.

  11. My favorite recipe is any thing that you can put in a crock pot.

  12. My family loves chicken spaghetti:

    Mix together
    1 can rotel(your favorite flavor)
    1 can or bag of corn
    shredded chicken (cooked)
    Cooked pasta
    cover with shredded cheese

    Place in preheated oven (325) for 20 minutes!

  13. I love my crock pot so I use that a ton!

    Roast, Dry onion soup mix and a can of cream of mushroom soup.

    Roast on the bottom of the crock pot, put the mix on top of the roast then add the mushroom soup on top of that. Cook on low for 8 hours. It's a family favorite!

  14. I'm not a cook. I tried cooking something in a crock pot once but my kids said, "Mom, that's really gross. Can we go get something to eat at g-ma's?" :-D

  15. I love the Food Network. The original Iron Chef was one of my favorite shows. I am myself a pretty good cook, kind of an amateur gourmet. When the first season of 'Next FoodNetwork Star' was looking for video tape entries, my friends and family tried so hard to get me to submit an entry. I chickened out, of course.