As an author I am aware of the research that is required in writing a novel. If details are incorrect the whole premise falls flat. How to weave the facts into an intriguing story and engage your reader is a challenge of upmost importance.

Even though I have lived in Rome and travelled there often I had to research when writing From Rome with Love thoroughly. The same for Stage Fright.  I have traveled through Great Britain many times, studied voice, and sang in a church choir, but still I needed to check my facts when it came to writing about England. And copious research was required when writing about the Amish. I enjoyed writing all of these books and can hardly wait to give you more details and share the cover of my upcoming novel!

By the way, From Rome with Love, Stage Fright, and A Lancaster Family Secret e-books have been drastically reduced in price on Amazon.

Beef stroganoff (or beef stroganov) is easy, hearty, flavorful and nothing like the dreaded school lunch dish made with cream of mushroom soup.

Classic Beef Stroganoff


2 Tbsp. butter, divided
8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 lb sirloin or flank steak, sliced thinly, against the grain
2 Tbsp flour
1 c. beef broth
1 Tbsp. whole grain mustard
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
½ c. sour cream
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper


  1. In a large skillet, saute the mushrooms in 1 Tbsp of butter over medium high heat for 2 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set aside.
  2. Add the remaining 1 Tbsp butter to the pan and heat until melted. Add the onions to the butter and saute for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Toss the beef chunks with the flour and add to the saute pan. Cook until browned, 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the beef broth, mustard powder, and tomato paste to the saute pan along with the cooked mushrooms, scraping the bottom of the pan to pick up any stuck bits.
  5. Simmer the mixture over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until the beef is cooked to your liking.
  6. Place the sour cream into a small bowl and mix a little of the broth from the skillet with the sour cream to warm it. Pour the warmed sour cream mixture into the saucepan and mix to combine.
  7. Taste the stroganoff and add the salt and pepper, to taste.
  8. Serve with noodles, potatoes or rice.

I have long wanted to meet historical fiction author Kate Breslin and will finally get my chance at an upcoming writers conference.  Her newest novel, In Love’s Time, takes place in Russia during WWI. An intriguing period of history and who isn’t interested in Russia? I have never been there and look forward to reading this book. Kate Breslin’s historical novel is in my TBR pile!

At the height of World War I, two sweethearts face impossible odds in this powerful tale of courage, duty, and heartbreak.

In the summer of 1918, Captain Marcus Weatherford arrives in Russia on a secret mission, with a beautiful ballerina posing as his fiancée. He’s there to find the Romanov tsarina and her son and glean information about a plot to assassinate Lenin. 

Military hospital orderly Clare Danner still suffers from Marcus’s betrayal after learning he’s engaged to another woman. Clare also fears losing her daughter, Daisy, to the heartless family who took her away once before. Only Marcus can provide the critical proof needed to save Daisy, but when an injury leaves him powerless to help, Clare’s fate–and the fate of the top-secret mission–hangs in the balance.

I asked Kate Breslin how she managed her research on Russia, a country that has long fascinated me, partly because I owned and bred Russian wolfhounds, also known as Borzoi.

She told me:

“Over the years I’ve been blessed to visit fourteen different countries. While some of these places made it into my stories, for those I’ve have not yet seen, like Russia’s city of Archangel, a setting in my latest novel, In Love’s Time, I normally research extensively. Internet tools like Google Earth and YouTube are always extremely helpful, and I sought out online photos featuring Archangel and the city’s promenade during WWI. My “gold nugget find” was to discover several old short video clips of the city when the Allies landed in August of 1918-—the timeline of my story. Ultimately, it’s important to me to get a “feel of the place” I’m writing about, so I can transport my readers there, too.”

Thanks, Kate Breslin, for sharing this tidbit with me and my readers!

Enter Kate's giveaway by April 25

Please enter my Giveaway for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card and one of my books. US and Canada only. Winner will be announced Tuesday, March 21, and has three days to respond to my email.