Welcome My Good Friend, Babette James!

Help me give a warm welcome to Babette! Be sure to leave a comment for your chance at a set of her Romance Trading Cards!

Thanks so much. Keri, for letting me visit here today and share a little about my debut novel, Clear As Day.

Clear As Day is a sweetly scorching contemporary romance from The Wild Rose Press, about two friends with benefits facing the fears and uncertainties of their changing relationship. I loved writing Clear As Day, it’s been a story of my heart in many ways, so seeing this story published is a dream come true. Receiving the 4 1/2 star scorcher review from Romantic Times and being able to hold my book in my hands have been truly thrilling moments. I hope you enjoy Nate and Kay’s journey as much as I have.
Most of Clear As Day takes place at a campsite on the shore of Lake Mohave, a reservoir downstream from the Hoover Dam formed out of stretch of the Colorado River by the Davis Dam. It’s a vacation setting and my characters go backcountry camping at Lake Mohave every July to get away from it all for two weeks of friends, fun, fast boats and fishing.

One thing that camp life always circled around when my family went camping, whether just ourselves or with a group of friends, was food. Breakfasts, lunches, suppers, snacks—someone was always hungry. A meal might be peanut butter quick slathered between two slices of bread and washed down with orange soda or a full breakfast of bacon, eggs and pancakes. If the fishing was good, supper was a full-out fish fry and boisterous talk about the ones that got away, or if the fish weren’t biting, it was hotdogs and boisterous talk about the ones that got away. Corn chips, potato chips, and onion dip were favored snacks, along carrot sticks and pretzels. Tart lemon drop candies were kept handy for just a little something sweet when out fishing or hiking. Dessert was usually cookies: oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip, and peanut butter. Or there might be marshmallows toasted over the campfire and made into messy, scrumptious s’mores.

I had fun reminiscing over those camping trips and writing some of my own experiences and favorite summer foods into Clear As Day. Here’s a recipe I like to make with tomatoes fresh from the garden or farm stand. It’s even better when you can use heirloom tomatoes.

My Tomato Salad
The measurements are all approximate, since it depends on the quantity of tomatoes and your tastes.
About 4 ripe tomatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks or slices
1 Onion, roughly chopped
About 1 clove Garlic, minced or chopped, to taste
Parsley and basil (About 2 tablespoons fresh. Less if dried), to taste
Salt and black pepper to taste (a little pinch of red pepper flakes is nice if you like a spicier kick)
About 2-3 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
About ¼ to ½ cup Olive Oil (you want roughly 1 part vinegar to 3 parts olive oil)
Toss all in a bowl to mix and put into the refrigerator to marinate for about one half hour.
Serve up and enjoy.

Here’s an excerpt sharing a little glimpse of suppertime at camp with Nate and Kay’s friends:
Dave frowned at the catch. “Got a lot of catfish in here. Knew I should have gone out with you three.”

Kay always wondered how an adrenaline junkie like Dave could hold still long enough for such a peaceful pastime as fishing, but he did. She’d done a portrait of him fly-fishing several years back for a birthday gift and the painting remained one of her favorite works.

Chuck whacked him with his Tigers cap. “Don’t complain to me, Mr. Fish Snob. Fish is fish. I’ll take anything legal that bites. I think we did damn good for the afternoon.”

Lloyd hoisted a catfish. “You want more bass, next time you come along and coax them.”

Margie grimaced, looking pale. “I didn’t know catfish were so big and ugly.”

“This one’s just a little baby.” Lloyd patted his “little baby.” The channel catfish weighed eight pounds, easy. “Have to be careful when you go swimming out in the deep water, Margie baby.” His voice dropped to a rolling old-pirate, tall-tale cadence. “They say there’s some out there a couple a hundred pounds, could just slurp a little thing like you right up.”

Margie looked wide-eyed at Christopher.

Christopher was choking down a laugh and trying to look serious and supportive at the same time, and failing miserably.

JoAnn rolled her eyes and flicked the back of Lloyd’s head.

“Ouch! Damn it, Jo.” He rubbed his head.

JoAnn grinned. “Margie, sweetie, don’t listen to Lloyd. He’s just pulling your leg.”

“Oh.” Doubts still flickered over her face. “What do you need pliers for?”

“You don’t scale a cat, hon. You got to skin them. Watch how Scott’s doing it.” Christopher dispatched his own bass.

“Oh, that’s the old way. Try it this way.” With a brisk, sure slip of his knife, a snap of the backbone, and a smooth pull head to tail, Dave had the smaller catfish in his hands neatly peeled and gutted.

A kittenish cry escaped Margie as she turned seriously green. Christopher quickly rinsed off his hands and hugged her close, murmuring something soothing.

She hid her face in his chest, and a hiccupping sniffle squeaked from her. “But there it’s wrapped and everything.”

He smiled and patted her back as he whispered into her ear, his craggy, lined face transformed by tenderness into something exquisite.

Kay stared, transfixed.

Christopher whispered more. Margie’s gentle laughter rippled out, and she tipped her face to him. He kissed her and her smile bloomed.

Patti and Olivia deftly fileted and portioned the cleaned catch, and Dave and Rich manned the fry pans.

Food was served up, seats taken, and the lively banter, jokes, and catching-up conversation flew around Kay.

Lloyd handed Kay the tomato salad. “Kay, we put this trip together per Nate’s request so we could all get some serious fishing in, and what does he do on the first day? Deserts us!”

Nate laughed. “Hey, I caught four fish today. Tell them, Kay.”

Kay merely smiled as she scooped the savory tomatoes onto her plate and passed the bowl to Nate.

“Took you all afternoon to catch four fish? You said you’d be right back with Kay for lunch.” Dave rolled his eyes and gave Kay a friendly wink.

“Got sidetracked. The fish, lunch…you know.” Nate grinned smugly.

A flaming blush rushed over Kay.

JoAnn laughed dryly. “Uh huh. ‘You know’ always takes some time, when done right.” She leaned over to whisper in Lloyd’s ear and, as Lloyd choked and flushed, turned smoothly to Nate. “Nate, honey, pass that salad on down here.”

What’s a girl to do when her summer lover wants forever?

Haunted by dark memories of her parents’ volatile marriage, artist Kay Browning keeps her heart locked behind a free-spirit facade and contents herself with the comfortable affair she has every summer with easygoing photographer Nate Quinn.

The only trouble with her plan? This summer Nate’s come to Lake Mohave to claim the lover he can’t let go. He’s done with the endless traveling and settling for temporary homes and temporary loves. Kay’s always been more than just a vacation fling, and now he must convince this woman, who sees love as a course to certain heartbreak, to take that leap of faith and learn how safe love with the right man can be.

Bio: Babette James writes contemporary and fantasy romance and loves reading nail-biting tales with a satisfying happily ever after. When not dreaming up stories, she enjoys playing with new bread recipes and dabbling with paints. A teacher, she loves encouraging new readers and writers as they discover their growing abilities. Her class cheers when it’s time for their spelling test! She lives in New Jersey with her wonderfully patient husband and three extremely spoiled cats.

Website: http://babettejames.com/ 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BabetteJames
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/BabetteJamesAuthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/babettejames
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/E1ur-avq5YI

The Wild Rose Press– Paperback & eBook  | Amazon.com – Paperback & Kindle | Barnes & Noble – Nook

Come fall in love at the river.
What’s your favorite summertime or vacation food? Babette will be giving away a set of Romance Trading Cards to one lucky commenter. Please leave your E-mail address with your comment.