Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Funny snippet from Lady Wynwood’s Spies 1

I don’t always post excerpts from my manuscript, but I happened to come across this snippet from Lady Wynwood’s Spies 1: Archer, it made me laugh. I don’t really remember writing it, but now I’m glad I did. :)



Sep had made a living out of keeping his emotions from his face, but it was increasingly hard to do so as he and Calvin disembarked from the cart on the streets of Jem Town.

They first headed to where he knew Michael had last been, at Auntie Ann’s Bakery. But Calvin grew tense as they approached from down the street. “There are more people than normal hanging around. Something happened.”

They didn’t need to ask anyone—there were several groups of people huddled together and whispering, so Sep and Calvin sidled up to one of them. Calvin had a look of salacious interest on his young face, and a woman in a dirty mobcap immediately asked, “Did you hear what happened? Lotty was killed early this morning! Found lying against the wall of the bakery, her neck broke.” The woman shivered.

“Must be strong to break a woman’s neck,” the man next to her said in a low voice.

“Hush,” a second woman said. “We don’t talk about them.”

Sep was almost certain they were talking about Jack’s men, who were taking the Root.

“Why would they kill her?” a third woman asked in soft, wondering voice.

“It’s because of that no-good man of hers, that actor thinks he’s a writer. What was his name?”

“He went by some ridiculous name, something like Archipelago Constipation or something or other.”

Sep had to tighten every muscle in his face to keep from reacting to that.

“Didn’t you hear? He went mad only a few days ago. Busted up my cousin’s cabbage cart over in the Long Glades.”

“I hope they threw him in Newgate.”

“He never got there. Got trampled by a horse.”

“So now both Lotty and her man are dead?” The horrified question made everyone pause for a long moment at the unspoken implications of that fact.

Calvin took this moment to tug at Sep’s sleeve and lead him away, toward the entrance to the bakery. In a low voice, Calvin said, “Once they realized both Lotty and Mr. Constipation are dead, they wouldn’t talk anymore about who might have done it. It would be too dangerous.”

Celebration Lit blog tour day 10



Lady Wynwood's Spies, volume 1: Archer is going on a blog tour with Celebration Lit! The tour is from February 15th through the 28th, so be sure to visit all the tour stops. Also enter the giveaway for a 1-year subscription to Kindle Unlimited!

The blog tour stops today are:

deb’s Book Review

Fiction Book Lover (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Get Christian Contemporary Romance ebook Jade’s Match FREE!


If you PREORDER my Christian Contemporary Romance anthology, Save the Date, you’re eligible to join this limited-run Save the Date newsletter and get a FREE ebook every month!

Each month, we’ll give away an ebook from one of the authors in the anthology. Once you join the newsletter, you’ll get an ebook free every month until the anthology releases!

This month, the free book is Jade’s Match by Hallee Bridgeman!

Two Olympians are matched in a media campaign that turns into something more than a game.

Rio Games silver medalist and social media darling CORA “JADE” ANDERSON is approached by a popular cell phone company to launch a flirty but fake media campaign with ice hockey star DAVIS ELLIOTT. When things get off to a rocky start, Cora and Davis both wonder what they’ve gotten into and how they’ll get through the months until the Korean games.

It’s not long until things start to warm up between the athletes and soon this fake romance becomes something much more real. Cora knows just how to work social media and engage her fans, and as the world watches and interacts with them, their love grows. When Davis is selected for Team USA, the opposition starts. As a Korean American, he’s already facing odds Cora can never comprehend, but he takes his frustration at the racism to the ice and lets the puck take the beating.

Things come to a head just weeks before the games begin. Can Davis and Cora’s very public relationship survive the aftermath of a very public confrontation, or are they going to have to let their love go when the Olympic flame is extinguished at the closing ceremonies?

Want this ebook for free? Preorder Save the Date and then join this limited-run Save the Date newsletter!

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Celebration Lit blog tour day 9



Lady Wynwood's Spies, volume 1: Archer is going on a blog tour with Celebration Lit! The tour is from February 15th through the 28th, so be sure to visit all the tour stops. Also enter the giveaway for a 1-year subscription to Kindle Unlimited!

The blog tour stops today are:

For Him and My Family

Labor Not in Vain

Tea for Today - Gingerbread by @AdagioTeas #myadagio


The holidays are past, but I’m evoking Christmas with today’s tea, Gingerbread by Adagio.com.

From the website:

Premium black tea from Sri Lanka flavored with sweet gingerbread. Both Gingerbread men and women agree: this unique tea is the perfect addition to any house (gingerbread or regular). A comforting old-world treat, delicious in any season. Warm and cozy, perfect sweetened or not.

Black Tea | High caffeine | Steep at 212° for 3 minutes.


The smell reminded me of Starbucks gingerbread lattes, so I had my husband steam some milk for me and I used a generous dollop of that with this tea.


The tea flavor was stronger than the gingerbread flavor, so this tasted more like a creamy, slightly spicy cup of milk tea than a dessert drink. It was delicious with one of my sugar-glazed treacle buns.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Celebration Lit blog tour day 8



Lady Wynwood's Spies, volume 1: Archer is going on a blog tour with Celebration Lit! The tour is from February 15th through the 28th, so be sure to visit all the tour stops. Also enter the giveaway for a 1-year subscription to Kindle Unlimited!

The blog tour stops today are:

Reflecting on Days Gone By

Pause for Tales

The Artist Librarian
Note from Camy: Please visit the Artist Librarian! She’s one of my favorite book bloggers!

Sourdough Treacle Buns recipe from Lady Wynwood's Spies 2: Berserker


If you read my Christian Regency Romantic Suspense novel, Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 2: Berserker, you will have noticed that Miss Tolberton brings humble treacle buns to eat with tea at the church.

I got the idea for treacle buns from looking through old cookbooks from the 1800s. Commercial dry yeast cakes for making breads were not available until 1825, which is 15 years after the date of my book, so most breads during the Regency period were made with sourdough starters.

“Black treacle” is the same thing as molasses, and was mentioned in cookbooks published during the Regency period, but in those books, I couldn’t find a recipe for treacle bread or treacle buns or brown bread. This seemed a bit strange to me since brown bread (made with whole wheat and black treacle) has been around since before the Regency period, but I am guessing that it was such a common food, most cooks probably already knew how to make it or would simply buy it from a local bakery.

So I did a Dr. Google search for how to make sourdough brown molasses bread. There are lots of recipes to choose from, but I wanted a super soft molasses bread that could be made into the slightly sweet buns featured in my book, which the heroine eats with tea.

I’ve been doing a lot of sourdough baking since last year, since I couldn’t buy yeast for several months after the pandemic started, and I had come across a really neat recipe for sourdough milk bread rolls by The Perfect Loaf. The recipe uses an Asian bread roux technique referred to as tangzhong, which is often used in Japanese Hokkaido milk bread and Taiwanese milk bread recipes.

I really wanted to try making a molasses bun with tangzhong, so I took a bunch of molasses bread recipes and mashed them with the sourdough milk bread roll recipe above to come up with my own Molasses Sourdough Milk Bread Rolls! (Say that five times fast)

I doubt Regency London would have used the tangzhong roux technique, and you don’t have to use it in the recipe below if you want to make just regular treacle buns. But the tangzhong is not difficult, and it makes the buns super soft as well as making them stay soft and fresh for a few days longer than normal sourdough bread.

The buns turned out really great and UBER soft! You can do an optional sugar glaze to make it sweet to eat with tea (see at the very end of the recipe below), or you can eat them (unglazed) like my husband does, as sliders. They tasted fantastic with pulled pork!

I hope you enjoy this recipe and enjoy some treacle buns from my book!

Camy’s Molasses Sourdough Milk Bread Rolls


Adjusted from: Super Soft Sourdough rolls by The Perfect Loaf
Makes 16 rolls

Ingredients:
For the roux (tangzhong):
* 41 grams all-purpose flour
* 166 grams whole milk

For the sourdough levain:
* 74g all-purpose flour (can also use bread flour if desired)
* 74g water
* 15g sugar
* 30g ripe sourdough starter

For the main dough:
* Either 496g all-purpose flour, or a mix of 328g all-purpose flour and 148g bread flour (using some bread flour makes the rolls more firm and makes the rolls rise more, while using all all-purpose flour makes the rolls softer)
* 95g butter
* 126g molasses (if you like your bread sweeter, you can add more sugar in addition to molasses. Some molasses bread recipes add about 35g sugar)
* 181g water
* 11g salt (about 1 tablespoon)

Instructions:
(Optional) Make ripe sourdough starter:
I keep my sourdough starter in the fridge, and I only keep a small amount (like 20-40 grams), so in the morning, I’ll feed my starter and let it rise before making my levain.

Mix about 25g each flour and warm water to about 1/4-1/2 cup cold starter and leave at 77°F (25°C) until doubled. You will only use 30g of the doubled starter, NOT the entire volume.

Camy: Since my kitchen can be cold, I actually put my starter jar in my Instant Pot on a steamer trivet, with 1 cup of hot water on the bottom, and the Instant Pot on Yogurt, using the low yogurt setting (not the normal yogurt setting).

Prepare levain:
Mix the following ingredients in a glass container (I used a quart mason jar with plastic lid) and leave at 77°F (25°C) (Again, I used Instant Pot on low Yogurt setting) for 5 hours. Alternately, you can leave covered at room temperature for 12 hours overnight.

* 74g medium-protein bread flour or all-purpose flour
* 74g water
* 15g sugar
* 30g ripe sourdough starter

Make the roux:
* 41g medium-protein bread flour (or all-purpose flour)
* 166g milk

In a saucepan, add the flour and milk. Turn the heat to medium and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens to the consistency of mashed potatoes, about 5-8 minutes. (It will not seem to be doing anything but then it will suddenly start to thicken and it will continue to thicken very quickly so be careful.) Cool the roux before mixing with the levain or the heat might kill the yeast.

Note: If you don’t want to make the roux, just leave it out of the recipe. Instead, when making the dough below, don’t add the entire amount of water and instead add water (or milk, or a combination of both) slowly just until the dough forms. How much water will depend on your flour and the humidity of your kitchen. The resulting dough will not be as sticky as the dough would be with the roux.

Make the dough:
To the bowl of a Kitchenaid stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add:

* all of the pre-cooked flour (roux)
* 95 g butter (cut into 1/2” pats) (In the original recipe, he added the butter after the dough had formed, but I am lazy and added it here instead)
* Either 496g all-purpose flour, or a mix of 328g all-purpose flour and 148g bread flour (using some bread flour makes the rolls more firm and makes the rolls rise more, while using all all-purpose flour makes the rolls softer)
* 181g water (about 3/4 cup)
* 126g molasses (if you like your bread sweeter, you can add more sugar in addition to molasses. Some recipes add about 35g sugar)
* 11g salt (about 1 tablespoon, although add less salt if you desire)
* all of the levain

Mix the dough at speed 1 for 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down the sides, until the dough comes together. Then, mix at speed 4 (yes, speed 4) for 5 minutes. The dough will slightly clump around the dough hook but it will mostly be extremely sticky. Avoid the temptation to add more flour—trust me, it will be fine once the gluten develops (see below).

Let the dough rest in the mixing bowl for 10 minutes.

After resting, mix the dough again for 10-15 min at speed 4 to develop the gluten, scraping down the sides a couple times. The dough will still be EXTREMELY sticky, but it will seem more firm than before, and it’ll clump together like a ball of dough better than before (see picture below).


Bulk fermentation:
Transfer to a non-reactive bowl. Wet your hands and do one set of stretch and folds.

Let the dough rise (bulk fermentation) at 77°F (25°C) for 3-5 hours. (The duration I let it rise usually depends on how late in the evening it is by this time.)

Camy: I actually put the bowl on top of my Instant Pot, with a cup of hot water in the Instant Pot, and put it on the normal Yogurt setting (not the low yogurt setting) and covered it with a towel.

(Optional) Do 3 sets of stretch and folds every 30 minutes after the start of bulk fermentation. (Sometimes I forget to do more than the first stretch and fold, and the dough still comes out okay.)

Chill dough overnight:
After 3-5 hours, place the dough container in the refrigerator overnight for retarded rise.

Shape the rolls:
Butter your pan.
Camy: I used a large deep-dish pizza pan, but you can use any large pan for your dough. It’ll rise a lot and squish together (see photo below), so if you want your buns to be more round and separated, use a couple cookie sheets instead.

Divide the dough into sixteen pieces and shape each as a very tight ball (I weighed the dough and divided it into 16 by weight). The dough will still be sticky (although easier to manage since it will be cold), so dust your workspace with flour. However, try to avoid the temptation to knead more flour into the dough if you can help it—if the dough is just way too sticky to handle, then add more flour, but the roux allows the dough to absorb more water than a regular dough, so it will be a bit more sticky than traditional sourdough bread.

Place the balls in the buttered pan to proof.

Proof the buns:
Cover the buns with a towel and let the buns proof for 2.5 to 3 hours at 77°F (25°C) (I found it rose better on top of my Instant Pot on normal Yogurt setting for 5 hours, but you can also put it in your oven with the light on or with a pan of hot water underneath.)

Bake your rolls:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the rolls for 15 minutes, rotate pan, then bake another 10-15 minutes more until the internal temperature is at least 201°F.

Remove from the oven and let cool in the baking pan for 10 minutes. Then knock the rolls out to cool on a wire rack. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before eating.


Optional: I’m from Hawaii, so I love Hawaiian sweet rolls, and for my book, I envisioned these buns with a light sugar glaze. So if you like slightly sweet rolls to eat with tea, try this: in a saucepan, heat sugar and water together, about 35 grams of sugar per tablespoon of water. When the sugar has completely dissolved, glaze the rolls with the sugar and let it cool. It’ll form a sticky glaze that perfectly compliments the molasses flavor.



***


Buy Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 1: Archer:
Kindle
Paperback


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Sunday, February 21, 2021

Celebration Lit blog tour day 7



Lady Wynwood's Spies, volume 1: Archer is going on a blog tour with Celebration Lit! The tour is from February 15th through the 28th, so be sure to visit all the tour stops. Also enter the giveaway for a 1-year subscription to Kindle Unlimited!

The blog tour stops today are:

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess

Texas Book-aholic

Tea for Today - Rooibos Nutcracker by @AdagioTeas #myadagio


This is one of my last Christmas-themed teas! Today’s tea is Rooibos Nutcracker by Adagio.com.

From the website:

How suite it is! Limited-edition holiday herbal features rooibos with fruit, nuts, caramel, and cocoa. Smooth, rich flavors offer natural sweetness and depth. This is the ideal blend to sip by the tree, on a snowy winter's evening.

Herbal Tea | No caffeine | Steep at 212° for 5 minutes.


The caramel flavor really comes through, so I added milk and sugar.


I’m not a huge fan of rooibos, but the rooibos complimented the caramel and spices quite well. It was a nice warming cup of tea that went well with my lunch today.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Slow Down Saturday - Isaiah 41:14


I know this might be kind of a weird verse for a Bible image, but I like this verse a lot because it reminds me that God is BIG. God is WAY BIG. God is SO much BIGGER THAN ME.

Lately my health has been kind of tough. Nothing serious, just inconvenient. But it’s been causing me to stress out, because I’m the kind of person who will worry and worry and worry.

But this verse reminds me that God is bigger than my problems, and God will help me, because God is the Holy One of Israel. So I hope this verse encourages you today, too.

What are some encouraging Bible verses that you like?

Celebration Lit blog tour day 6



Lady Wynwood's Spies, volume 1: Archer is going on a blog tour with Celebration Lit! The tour is from February 15th through the 28th, so be sure to visit all the tour stops. Also enter the giveaway for a 1-year subscription to Kindle Unlimited!

The blog tour stops today are:

Betti Mace

Inklings and notions

Friday, February 19, 2021

Celebration Lit blog tour day 5



Lady Wynwood's Spies, volume 1: Archer is going on a blog tour with Celebration Lit! The tour is from February 15th through the 28th, so be sure to visit all the tour stops. Also enter the giveaway for a 1-year subscription to Kindle Unlimited!

The blog tour stops today are:

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

HookMeInABook

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Lady Wynwood's Spies, volume 1: Archer EXCERPT - Nightmare

I’m posting an excerpt of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 1: Archer, the first part of my Lady Wynwood’s Spies series!

Part one in a Christian Regency Romantic Adventure epic serial novel with a supernatural twist
Lady Wynwood’s Spies series, volume 1

She met him again by shooting him.

After four seasons and unmarried because she is taller than most of her dance partners, Miss Phoebe Sauber receives the shocking news that she is being callously banished from her father’s estate because he is remarrying. Feeling betrayed by her father and by God, and wanting to escape her family’s presence, she attends an archery tournament with her friends.

But her perfect aim fails her, and her arrow hits a piece of paper held by Mr. Michael Coulton-Jones, whom she hasn’t seen much in society in several years. But strangely, her arrow tears a section of the paper with a partial symbol that looks eerily familiar to her.

He met her again while searching for a killer.

Michael had quit his work as a spy for the Foreign Office when his brother was poisoned. His search for the murderer leads him to Apothecary Jack, a criminal underworld leader with a penchant for poisons, who is gathering a powerful army through an alchemical potion that can give men supernatural strength.

But his path unexpectedly crosses again with Miss Sauber, who saves him from a trap laid by Jack. She and her Aunt Laura, Lady Wynwood, have found a vital connection to Apothecary Jack and the mysterious group he works for.

Now Michael, who had vowed to never again allow civilians to come to harm, must work with a nobleman keeping dangerous secrets, a human lie detector, a chemist, a fellow former spy, and the one woman he’s never allowed himself to get close to.

And it is only this ragtag group that stands against a traitorous organization that could enable Napoleon to conquer the world.

PLEASE NOTE: This is the first book in the Lady Wynwood’s Spies series, an epic serial novel. Each volume has a completed story arc, but this is NOT a stand-alone novel and ends on a cliffhanger.

All the posted parts are listed here.

***


Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 1: Archer



A Christian Regency Romantic Adventure serial novel

Camille Elliot



Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)


Nightmare



The young girl huddled at the top of the stairs, listening to the sounds from the floor below. Her uncle had been shouting loudly, but she hadn’t been able to make out the words. She heard women shrieking—her aunt, and her aunt’s maid, Aya—and then crying.

Then abruptly there had been a few minutes of strange quiet, as if the house were holding its breath.

Now the floors below echoed with the footsteps of many servants, speaking low, urgent words.

The girl often stayed overnight at her aunt’s house, because while her uncle usually ignored her, her aunt cosseted her and gave her the affection she lacked at home. Therefore the girl knew there was an unusual amount of hurried activity for so late at night—it was nearly midnight, and she had woken up because of the noise. But now, there was no more of her uncle’s shouting.

The girl clung to the banister as she sat on the step. She should return to the nursery at the end of the hallway behind her, but she couldn’t move from this spot, not quite disobeying the orders of Jane, the maid who had been assigned to care for her. When she woke, Jane had ordered her to stay and then rushed downstairs.

The girl had often complained to her aunt that at nearly eleven years old, she was too old to stay in the nursery and deserved a proper guest bedchamber, but now she was glad she had had Jane nearby when they heard the shouting start.

Despite the unusual bustle of so many servants, surely no one was actually injured? If there were, there would be more wailing and shock, surely?

Light footsteps raced up the stairs, and before she could get up and return to the nursery, Jane appeared at the turn in the staircase and saw her through the banister. “I didn’t think you’d stay put, but at least you didn’t come downstairs.”

“What has happened?”

“Nothing to worry you, poppet.” Jane sat down next to her on the step and placed an arm around her. “There was an accident, but the servants are just cleaning things up. We’ll stay up here until everything is quite done.”

Her words were calm and cheerful, but the hand on the girl’s shoulder trembled.

“Is Aunt Laura all right?”

“She will be, my darling.” Jane gave her a hug. “Now, she will be.”

***

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Buy Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 1: Archer:
Kindle
Paperback

NOTE: Unfortunately, the book will only be in Amazon for now. However, if you buy a copy on Amazon and would like to read it on your non-Kindle reader, forward the receipt of your purchase to me at camys.loft@gmail.com and I’ll have BookFunnel send you an .epub copy of the file so you can side load it onto your ebook reader. (If you have any trouble downloading your copy, please click the help link at the top of the download page. The friendly folks at BookFunnel will help you get your book.) You might also be able to download a DRM-free copy from Amazon through “Your Content and Devices” page on the Amazon website.

Celebration Lit blog tour day 4



Lady Wynwood's Spies, volume 1: Archer is going on a blog tour with Celebration Lit! The tour is from February 15th through the 28th, so be sure to visit all the tour stops. Also enter the giveaway for a 1-year subscription to Kindle Unlimited!

The blog tour stops today are:

Through the Fire Blogs

Mia Reads

Sara Jane Jacobs