Friday, December 11, 2015

Guest Blog Kiss of the Virgin Queen by Sharon Buchbinder

Lights, Camera, Latkes!

As I write this, I am still in recovery mode from the second night of Hanukkah, which we celebrated with brisket, latkes, cookies, candy, candles and—wait for it—three, 3-year olds. 

The blue and silver wrapping paper carnage was EPIC.

The hardest part of the evening was getting my husband into the family room with his super-duper digital camera to take pictures. The kids were very patient, waiting for permission to tear into their packages full of the latest Batman toys, a baby doll, the new Hess firetruck, and stacks of ready-to-assemble crafts projects in anticipation of the coming months.  The mothers frantically picked up wrapping paper and tiny parts to keep them away from our two dogs. The kids compared toys and used the firetruck to keep the Scooby-Do Haunted House to keep from burning down. Did I mention it was a bit of mayhem?

Too soon, the fun came to an end. Gifts and leftovers were packed up. The little ones were dressed in their pajamas and jackets, ready to fall asleep in their car seats on the way home. As she hugged me, my daughter-in-law said, “Don’t forget, I need that latke recipe!” 

Latkes, in case you don’t know, are potato pancakes, fried in oil. The holiday celebrates the Maccabees (the Hebrew word for “hammer”) victory over the Greeks who wanted the Jews to reject their one G-d and worship pagan gods. When the Jews reclaimed the Temple, they found only enough uncontaminated oil to light the menorah for one night. Instead, the oil lasted for eight nights, a miracle. On each of the eight nights of Hanukkah, we light candles to commemorate this miracle. We also cook in oil to remember the special oil in the lamp. Some families make donuts. We make latkes.

Everyone’s family has a different recipe. Now I’m seeing recipes for latkes with jalapeno peppers! My mother-in-law, may she rest in peace, would not approve. Herewith, I share with you two of my mother-in-law’s recipes for Hanukkah, brisket and latkes.

Brisket Slow Cooker Style

(Serves 4-6 hungry people)

3-4 pounds brisket

Large container Paprika

One large onion

One 1 pound bag carrots

6 Beef bouillon cubes

6 Cups water (depends on size of cooker)


Place peeled carrots on bottom of slow cooker.

Place chopped onions in slow cooker on top of carrots.

Coat brisket in Paprika and place on top of onions.

Put in 6 beef bouillon cube and pour 6 cups of water around everything. Cover and simmer on medium/high for 8-10 hours–depending on your slow cooker.

Serve on a large platter with side of horseradish.


(Serves small army, but remember you want leftovers!)

5 pound bag of white potatoes

2 large sweet onions

1 large container of egg substitute

Black pepper

Olive oil for cooking (lots—don’t skimp or the latkes will stick!)

Sour cream


Using food processor or hand grater, grate onions and set aside in large bowl. (You will cry.) Drain onions and pat with paper towels. They make a lot of water!

Peel potatoes and place in large bowl or pot of salted water to prevent them from turning colors.

Cut potatoes into chunks and grate in food processor or by hand. (Oy! That’s a lot of work. Sure you can’t borrow a food processor from someone?)

Mix onions, potatoes, and egg substitute until all potatoes and onions are covered well with egg. You probably won’t need the entire container. Throw in black pepper to your taste.

Heat olive oil in frying pan. You want it hot, not smoking, but hot.

Place large spoons full of latke mix in pan and turn when golden brown (you will see it on turn color on the edges).

Serve latkes hot with a generous dollop of sour cream and/or applesauce.

I hope you enjoy the recipes. More importantly, I hope you enjoy your time with your families, whatever you celebrate.

Happy healthy holidays to all!

Kiss of the Virgin Queen
Kiss of the Jinni Hunter Series
Book Two
Sharon Buchbinder

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Date of Publication: October 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5092-0392-5 Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-5092-0393-2 Digital

Number of pages: 300
Word Count: 75K

Cover Artist: Rae Monet

Book Description:

Homeland Security Special Agent Eliana Solomon is on a mission to prevent terrorist attacks. Hard enough to do when the threats are human, almost impossible when it's an evil, shape shifting jinni. Eliana needs help so she calls the sexy and beguiling psychiatrist, Arta Shahani. However, no matter how good he is at his job, the man is on her blacklist. On their last case together, the guy left her for dead.

Arta is stunned when he receives Eliana’s call. Forced to abandon the woman he loves, he now fears she won’t accept his shape-shifting skills as a Persian Lion. Eliana, in the meantime discovers she is a direct descendant of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba with special powers of her own. But will her skill and Arta's be enough to defeat the jinni, or will they lose the love history decreed for them as well as their lives in this battle of good versus evil?

ARe    Amazon     Bookstrand    BN     Kobo    WildRose Publishing

Short intro: This full length novel is the second in the enthralling new Jinni Hunter series from award-winning author, Sharon Buchbinder. Edgy and suspenseful, this paranormal romance series explores diverse cultures and an array of supernatural beings. Join the Special Agents of the Anomaly Defense Division as they race to save humanity—and the people they love.

Excerpt: Chapter One

Summertown, West Virginia, U.S.A., Present Day

A picturesque flight over the Appalachian Mountains to Summertown, West Virginia gave Special Agent Eliana Solomon of the Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate, Anomaly Defense Division time to process the urgent report she’d received by email. Up until this week, the existence of werewolf packs had been concealed from the general population. Now reports of the secretive shape shifters exploded in her inbox. Where had this information been all this time? Had the government monitored them all along? If so, why had her boss, Bert Blackfeather, insisted on her obtaining proof of their existence, along with the jinnis? She’d pry an answer out of that closed mouth man—someday. Right now, she had a more pressing matter at hand.

Five days ago, three nine-year-old werewolf boys and their three eighteen-year-old sisters went on a birthday expedition in the heavily wooded state wildlife area and disappeared. By day, local human authorities, volunteers, and bloodhounds brought in from surrounding jurisdictions combed the forest, the hills, and caves. By night, pack members ran through the forest using their extraordinary senses—olfactory, visual, and auditory—to hunt for their missing kin. Divers also explored the waterways, all to no avail. No clues to the kids’ whereabouts had been found, not even a backpack—until two this morning.

A night security guard discovered the boys in the middle of the Adalwolf Winery parking lot. Slightly bruised and scratched up, but otherwise alive and well, in their human forms, the youngsters had no  recollection of anything between arriving at the park and waking up in the parking lot with their back packs under their heads—their five-day-old lunches untouched.

Rushed to the ER and examined thoroughly, the boys displayed no evidence of physical abuse. The blank space in their minds where the memories should have been was inaccessible to parents and psychologists. If it weren’t for the fact that the three older girls were still missing, the local authorities wouldn’t continue to press the boys for information. Over time, their memories could return, but without ransom notes, calls or clues, the clock was running down for a successful search and rescue. The local police, state troopers, sheriff’s office, and the West Virginia Bureau of Investigation feared the operation would soon become a search and recovery.

The plane touched down, bounced along the runway, and Eliana’s cell began to vibrate.


The gruff voice of her boss boomed in her ear. “New development in the case.” Blackfeather paused. “A hiker found one of the missing girls in a culvert near an abandoned mine. Bites, claw marks. Throat ripped open. Damn thing nearly tore her head off.”

She shuddered. “Black bear?”

“Based on the paw prints around the body, the first responders are saying these weren’t bear bites. More like a dog—or wolf.”

“Boss, aside from zoos and wild animal preserves, there are no wolves in the eastern U.S.”
He sighed. “I stand corrected. Werewolf.”

Her stomach lurched, and she gripped the armrest so hard her knuckles turned white. Shit. Shit. Shit. A werewolf attacking one of its own? Why? What the hell was going on?

“West Virginia Division of Homeland Security has a car waiting for you, fully loaded with everything you’ll need for the investigation. Get to that scene.” Her boss clicked off.

Bossy desk jockey.
A flush of shame rushed over her. He’d taken on the orphan Anomaly Defense Division of the Science and Technology Directorate that no one else wanted, along with a mission no one else supported or believed in. As abrupt and abrasive as he could be, the Gulf War veteran deserved credit for giving her the opportunity to pursue what everyone else thought was something out of the tales of The Arabian Nights: jinnis. With the needed proof of werewolves and jinnis from Project Aladdin, support surged into the division. A stable funding source made her jinni hunting work possible So far, it seemed wherever there were werewolves, there was jinni activity.

This case was no different. According to the report, relationships between the local humans and werewolves were more than cordial. They were so intermarried, almost everyone was family. A large non-denominational wedding facility placed Summertown on an international list of destination weddings, like Hawaii and Las Vegas, but specifically for werewolves. A thriving bed and breakfast trade supported the wedding industry, along with other leisure activities, such as biking, hiking, white-water rafting, and winery and sightseeing tours. Murder of a werewolf girl wasn’t just bad for the family, it was bad for the town.

About the Author:

Sharon Buchbinder has been writing fiction since middle school and has the rejection slips to prove it. An RN, she provided health care delivery, became a researcher, association executive, and obtained a PhD in Public Health. When not teaching or writing, she can be found fishing, walking her dogs, or breaking bread and laughing with family and friends in Baltimore, MD and Punta Gorda, FL.

Twitter ID @sbuchbinder

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1 comment:

Sharon Bell Buchbinder said...

Thank you for hosting my Queen. Happy holidays!!