Monday, July 29, 2013

ROCK SOLID~ In the works! Please VOTE in the new POLL on my blog! Click to read more!

This is what's in the works folks.  A steamy LowCountry Erotic Romance that traces the lives of Kim and Marshall Simmons as they struggle with leaving the home where they've raised their children.  The home where they've created a life that's already full and promising.  But the new house comes with some interesting characters.  Neighbors who don't always leave parties hand in hand with their own husbands and Bar-be-ques that seem more like orgies. 
But the thought of sharing Marshall with another woman makes Kim want to scrape the sheet rock off the walls with her fingernails.  In light of her previous drunken indiscretion with bouncy neighbor Calla Rhinequist, Kim just may have to let him play a little to even the score, it's either that or tell him what she's done.  Cheating is cheating after all and she doubts her marriage, even as strong as it is, can withstand that.  But if she can get him to blur the lines of marital monogamy himself then perhaps her afternoon 'affair' won't seem quite as devastating. There are plenty of new neighbors licking their chops to get their hands on both of them, making it happen would be a breeze...
Will Kim and Marshall run back to their previous home with their tails between their legs like the previous owners of their new house did?

Laura Cooper is taking a POLL!  Give your two cents to the question, What would it take to convince you to try Swinging? on the poll at the top right of your screen!

Food of the Future.

Okay so I've been asked this strange question.  If you had a visitor, a time traveling visitor, from the times of Pilgrims and Indian's what would you feed them?  What would you feed someone from the year 2099?

So here it is;
Well I'd want to be polite and serve the Pilgrims and Indians something they recognize after all.  But if I were to take them to dinner I'd take them to;
Because their recipes are old school versions of American standards.  Their link is if you feel like heading down there now you may want to make a reservation.

Now if I were going to take someone from the future out to dinner I'd take them to Husk.  Because of this;
They'd need to drink to keep from bashing us all in the head and unceremoniously murdering us in our sleep.  I imagine they won't be too happy that we've ruined the planet and given them cause to move to Mars where they have to wear sunscreen 24/7 and all smell like coconuts.
Now if I were to sully the kitchen and prepare a meal for them myself then only the BEST shrimp and grits recipe will do.  Okay, I call Uncle here, everyone has their own family recipe that they swear is the best but this one is identical to mine.

Here it is, shrimp it's what's for dinner!
From The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen
Shrimp and Grits
Serves: 4
Time: 1 hour
These days everyone’s got his or her own riff on shrimp and grits, and our own formula seems always to be evolving. This recipe represents our latest take on the dish, influenced by (1) our desire to keep the tomato inflection from the Charleston Receipts recipe in the dish, and (2) a technique that a local restaurant of recent vintage, The Glass Onion, introduced to us: the chefs there slice the shrimp in half lengthwise so that when they hit the sauté pan, they twist into corkscrew-like curls. Each shrimp piece is easier to eat in one bite, the twisted shape grabs more sauce and gives the overall impression of a lighter dish. Especially if jumbo shrimp are the only ones available in your area, you’ll find this an appealing way to cook shrimp and grits.
1¼ pounds headless large (21 to 25 count) shell-on shrimp
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt
¾ tsp. sugar
1 pinch of cayenne
1 lb. vine-ripened tomatoes, cored and quartered
1 tsp. red wine vinegar, plus more to taste
4 oz. slab bacon, cut into large dice
1 lemon, halved
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 garlic cloves, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
Charleston Hominy (recipe follows)
1. Peel and devein the shrimp, reserving the shrimp in a bowl and the shells in a small saucepan. Add 2 cups of water, the bay leaf, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon of the sugar, and the cayenne to the saucepan with the shells. With a spoon, tamp the shells down beneath the surface of the water, cover, and bring to a simmer over high heat. Uncover, turn the heat to medium low, and let the shrimp stock simmer until reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, with a sharp knife, slice the shrimp in half lengthwise.
3. Put the tomatoes in a blender or food processor and add the vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt, and the remaining ½ teaspoon sugar. Process to a smooth purée, then strain through a fine sieve, pressing the skin and seeds to extract as much juice as possible. Discard the skin and seeds. You should have 1½ cups of tomato purée.
4. Scatter the bacon in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is alluringly browned and has rendered its fat, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a small paper-towel-lined plate and cook the shrimp in the bacon fat in batches, taking care not to crowd the pan, and stirring occasionally, just until they’ve curled into corkscrews and turned pink, about 2 minutes; reserve on a plate. Squeeze half the lemon over the shrimp and sprinkle with 2 pinches of salt.
5. Strain the shrimp stock into the sauté pan, discarding the solids, and stir with a wooden spoon to pick up the tasty browned bits from the bottom of the pan. When the stock simmers, spoon off 2 tablespoons and then whisk them into the flour with a fork in a small bowl to make a paste. Add the tomato purée and the garlic to the pan, stir to combine, and then whisk the flour paste into the sauce. Cook until the mixture thickly coats the back of a spoon.
6. Cut the heat, and fold the shrimp in just to warm through. Season to taste with salt, black pepper, and red wine vinegar. Cut the remaining lemon half into 4 wedges. Serve the shrimp over hot Charleston Hominy, and garnish with the reserved bacon and the lemon wedges.

Charleston Hominy
Makes: 3 cups
Time: 45 minutes
Charleston breakfast hominy, like Charleston Rice, is an exercise in simplicity; the dish isn’t intended to dazzle, but to be honed to a fine polish by years of intensive use—hominy grits, as some call it, is as familiar as water and salt, but rarely taken for granted.
2 cups whole milk
1 cup stone-ground coarse grits
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Pour the milk and 2 cups of water into a 2-quart saucepan, cover, and turn the heat to medium high. When the liquid simmers, add the grits, butter, and ½ teaspoon salt, and reduce the heat to medium. Stir every couple of minutes until the grits have become fragrant, and are the consistency of thick soup, about 8 minutes.
2. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring often and ever more frequently, for about 20 minutes, by which time the bubbles will emerge infrequently as the grits have stiffened and fall lazily from the end of a spoon. Add ½ teaspoon black pepper and cook for about 10 minutes more, stirring constantly to prevent the thickened grits from scorching on the bottom of the pan (appoint someone to the stirring task if you have to step away—a scorched pot of grits is bitter and a total loss). If your grits thicken too quickly, or if they are too gritty for your taste, add water by the half cup, stirring to incorporate, and continue cooking until tender.
3. When the grits are stiff and stick well to the spoon, turn off the heat and stir. Season with salt and black pepper to taste and serve immediately.

This is taken from Garden and Gun.  I highly recommend their site!

Now that all your tummies are full.  Keep on asking the questions!  I'm game!

The Little Dog who couldn't walk.

I suppose by now more than a few of you are wondering why, how and when I dropped off the face of the planet.  Well, except facebook, because that’s an entirely different matter.  You see like most writers, I live two very different lives.  One, the glamorous Laura who flirts around seducing men (give me a little latitude here!) and the other ‘me’ usually called so and so’s Mom.  I use the anonymous term ‘so and so’ because my (nearly adult) children fully support my writing unless it comes to reading it, talking about it or admitting that it is what it is altogether.  Now I do have ‘children’ who aren’t quite as snide.  The four legged variety.  I highly recommend having as many as you can take care of.  They aren’t as expensive as human children, they rarely talk back to you and they act as if you’ve been gone a year when you get back from the corner store. They’re a win all around.

Now for many years I’ve been begged to write a book on animal rescue.  I can’t seem to write that all down without 1) basically passing out medical advice.  And I’m far from being a veterinarian.  2) getting thoroughly pissed with the state of homeless animals nationwide  and  3) making myself look like the spay/neuter lunatic that I am.  I think in another blogpost…What Beach?  I chronicled my world class paranoia, if you think not allowing my children to ride the bus because it doesn’t have seatbelts is crazy, you should see me with my dogs.  Our entire lives revolve around these furry kids.  Even our home is so specifically designed to their needs that the only person we could sell it to is a rescuer or someone with hunting or show dogs at least. 
But I will indulge you beggars a little and give you one free hint.  Since I’ve mostly had pooches of the long hair variety I had to learn to groom my dogs myself.  Do the math, $40 times 15, no way am I spending that amount once a month!  It was a live and learn experience, grooming.  So I’m going to spare you the $900 extra you will spend, buying clippers from Walmart.  I own a pair of every kind they sell.  Just don’t bother, head on over to a website like and spend the $120 (more or less) for the Andis clippers.  Now over the years I’ve had my issues with Andis, which they’ve duly heard about.  And a lot of professional groomers like the Oster brand, whatever your preference, buy the good ones right from the start.  Oh and those ceramic blades?  They dull really fast.  Buy the less expensive, basic metal ones and oh, oh, oh don’t forget the CoolCare, you’ll need it.

So there, you’ve had today’s lesson in basic dog grooming.  Now back to why I’ve fallen off the planet.  We lost our baby last week.  We rescued her when she was two days old, woke hourly during her first months to force feed her liquids and carried her literally everywhere we went.  She did have a few good years, which she spent with a fantastic woman on her farm (picture Norman Rockwell here) in North Carolina, but then she came home to us when her tiny legs could no longer chase chickens.  You see she’d been born without a small bone in her neck that most humans and animals have.  In human diagnosis it’s Muscular Dystrophy.

Her condition gradually became worse as we doted on her every whim and let her rule our home.  She didn’t even seem to mind her all too frequent vet visits, as long as we held her.  Then when the human kids roamed our way for the summer they began to just tote her around with them as well.  There were rare moments when she wasn’t physically touching one of us.  Even at this point I can’t tell you whether our constant pampering quickened her demise or if we extended her life.  I still haven’t sorted it all out yet.

None of us really want to talk about it.  We are in a serious funk without her.   You’d think that with as many dogs as we helped throughout the years that one tiny little 10 pound dog couldn’t have this much of an impact.  But she did and now we’re trying to put it all together again the best that we can.  So if we don’t answer your calls or messages or texts it’s because we’re all too absorbed in trying to go on without her.   It’s not that we don’t love you.   We just can barely talk right now for the giant lumps in our throats still.  But if you’re lifting a glass of something this coming week please make a small toast for the little dog who couldn’t walk.  Because she was one of a kind.

Friday, July 26, 2013

What beach?

“So what beach is good when I’m in Charleston?”

Now that’s the absolute last question anyone should ever ask me!  First of all, contrary to anyone under the age of thirty, I’m not impressed with sand.  When my children were small I had a few tons brought in to our backyard so that the kids could build sand castles.  That’s about all it’s good for in my book.  Even the giant sandbox in my backyard didn’t thrill me.  I only had it there out of a deep sense of guilt for never taking my children to the beach.  The kids were always dragging in sand from that dirty pit.  It got to the point that I had to make them strip on the back deck then spray them down with cold water from the hose to attempt to keep this much hated sand from my hardwood floors.

Was I always this way?  Seemingly horrified by the least grain of sand?  I suppose the answer is yes.  If you’ve read my bio you know that I grew up on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina.  Of course the towering mansions weren’t there at that time, and the zip code was far from being the wealthiest East of the Cooper much less the entire United States.  Sullivan’s back then was more of a quaint community, one with too many quirks.  As far as laws and rules went, there were only two, don’t speed and don’t build a fire on the beach.  I did both, a lot.

Today, the kid who drove the school bus is the police chief and his sister is promoting my erotic romance novels at her office.  My, my how times have changed.  So let’s chat about simpler times, what the hell were our parents thinking letting us ride that bus driven by a seventeen year old?  Now that I’ve had a seventeen year old, two of them actually, I sincerely think my parents were lunatics.  Hell the single reason I woke up at six in the morning when my own kids were in school was because the school buses don’t have seatbelts.  A seventeen year old driving a billion pound yellow missile with no seat belts and my Angels on board?  I think not.  How on God’s green earth have I become so paranoid?  I’ve laid claim to the title, “World’s Most Paranoid Parent” for nearly twenty one years now and firmly believe myself an expert on the subject.  I actually have a swimming pool, in ground, which I had installed… that’s five feet deep.  Sand on my kids’ skin?  Pish Posh!  Absolutely no bleeping way!  Not on the tender skin of MY precious Angels.

So you ask me what beach to take your toddlers to visit?  I think that’s absurd!  Why in the world would you take a small child to the beach?  But before I offend all of you, let’s get to the driving force of my paranoia.  I made my own narrow escape from the jaws of Breech Inlet when I was thirteen.  Barely made it to the shore and I was swimming closer to Carolina Boulevard (Isle of Palms) than the Devil’s Snare (Breech Inlet.)  But I’ve stolen my life back from the Heaven’s a few times at this point so that’s only a small chunk of my fight with the beach.  (For the record, if you’re a sister paranoid parent visiting Charleston, just stay a mile or two away from Breech Inlet altogether and you’ll be fine.)

The real problem is the sand itself.  Until you’ve spent an entire day, your breakfast eggs with sand in them, your bologna lunch sandwich with a coating of sand and your chicken dinner sparkling with a nice grainy covering you won’t understand.  After a day filled with sand you go to rest your weary head only to find that the dog has been playing in the (read: nothing but sand and stickers) yard then used your bed to dry off, you really won’t grasp my hatred for this stuff.  That’s REAL life on the beach, where I grew up.

It wasn’t just my house either, a particular family, I’ll call them the Kennedy’s of Sullivan’s (because of recurrent family tragedies and sheer number of family members) had sand everywhere too.  That’s just how it was back then.  Living on the island wasn’t the status symbol it is today.  Oh hell no, as a matter of fact it was just the opposite.  We all had to try harder to fit into school on the mainland (Mt. Pleasant) because we were from the “island.”  I don’t think I’ve ever placed our specific societal niche in actual words before but it’s fair to say that we were different.  Most likely because our parents were dumb enough to let a seventeen year old drive the bus.  In retrospect the other parents must have thought we were un-cared for hoodlums.  I take pride in the fact that at least our outfits are still in style, we sported surfing t-shirts, shorts and flip flops, still my personal fashion statement.  Whereas those kids wore bell bottoms and shirts with rhinestones and no doubt have had to update their wardrobes more often than us “Island” kids.  We were somehow different from the other kids in too many ways, now I wonder if that wasn’t the intimidating factor?  Perhaps that’s why it was hard to invite other kids to spend the night?  No I think it was the sand.  I will admit that we never had a bunch of kids trying to steal our lunchboxes.

In my mother’s honor, and by the way no matter how many times I’ve killed her off in my books she’s alive and well in the Old Village, she kept a pretty organized ship back then on the island.  I still question her choices, for instance the straw carpeting, but all in all, my three brothers and I survived.  As a matter of fact the four of us have become rather normal, well adjusted humans.  I write Mommy Porn, the youngest is an injured, out of work EMT, another is a Charleston attorney and another married so well he hasn’t worked another day since college.  That’s normal right?  Probably not but if it isn’t I’m blaming it on the sand.

Now this tirade isn’t coming from nowhere.  My son is heading up to Spartanburg today with his sister to help her move apartments.  Apparently three sorority sisters in one apartment isn’t enough and they need an additional bedroom for another sister’s pink and green tchotchke’s.  So, childless for a few days I began to think of grabbing Chris and taking a mini vacation.  We’ve done everything there is to do within a two hundred mile radius, except the beach.  My mind rolled with it, we could take Ariel (our water baby-merle cocker) and a cooler and spend the day on the Island!  

 But you see that no longer works, because I’m not frigging thirty anymore!  To go to the beach I’d need to dig through the file cabinet and find Ariel’s shot records, then stop by Sullivan’s Island Town Hall and visit my old bus driver for a $35 license so she could be on the beach at all.  I’m not the rule breaker I used to be.  The cooler we’d need would have to be filled with about a case of Sam’s purified water, we’d need an umbrella –Chris burns.  We’d need towels, a blanket, and an ipod with speakers…which I don’t have so that means stopping at Best Buy for some speakers…as you can see it would take me a week to gather what I need to just endure one afternoon at the beach. 
But for poopies and giggles let’s assume I’ve done all these things and we’ve carried all this…crap… to the beach.  The day is over and the sun has drained what little energy we had in the first place out of us, we head back to the car dragging all of this...crap…through the sand.  Yes, to my Mommy wagon.  This is a replacement Mommy Wagon that I bought last year after the kids had all but turned the last one into a cheeto.  This one is pristine.  So without a garden hose how am I supposed to get Ariel and Chris back into the car?  Oh snap and that blanket?  Nope, I’ll be washing sand out of my house and car for the next six months, ain’t gonna happen.  I start fantasizing about yet another day trip to Biltmore instead.

I think by now you have the message that all of life’s wrong doings can be attributed to sand.  Yet still you pursue me, what beach?  Well since you insist, let me suggest Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina.  But as you rejoice in all that sand remember that there’s not a grain of it that I haven’t digested, slept with or violated in some unfashionable ( and possibly illegal) manner.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Charleston's Secret Word... | | Bold. Smart. Local. Now. | Charleston, SC

Charleston's Secret Word... | | Bold. Smart. Local. Now. | Charleston, SC

The General Rule

Is that if Wikipedia doesn't have a definition then it doesn't exist.  You can bet your damp panties that Webster's doesn't have one either.  So do let me clarify my definition, because I'm tired of hiding in the pornography closet (not that I have one...I really don't.)  First of all Mommy Porn has been around since the story of Adam and Eve was written down.  Who of us has never waited in the doctor's office and picked up one of the children's Bibles?  Right there in full view of our sneezing toddlers is porn. You can thump that same Bible as hard as you want, I still won't be convinced that procreation isn't fun.
But we've added a great deal to our lives since Adam and Eve donned the first fig leaf.  We have interesting things such as iPads, wireless internet and cars that talk to us.  We also have less interesting items like power bills, the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Verizon bill.  Things that are so complicated that the mere thought of them is enough to give us blinding migraines.  Let's get real, you've spent your entire day covered in snot.  You've washed the dog, cooked three meals for five people and now you want a few moments to yourself.  Good luck with that.
Hold your ponies, we need to add in a hard working partner who comes in, see's you frazzled and still thinks you're hot.  Bless his heart.  You want to make your man happy, doesn't the Bible tell us to do that?  But your feet are aching, something that may be blood is on your sleeve and no one you know is capable of loading a dishwasher.  You'd love to soak in Calgon for an hour but you still have to walk the dog, no need to get clean now because you'll be covered in sweat and slobber by the time you finish your day.  So what to do...
You pick up your e-reader and delve into a story that doesn't ask anything of you.  The kids are all bathed, smelling less snotty now, gathered at your feet watching a Penguin movie on television, they have no idea why you're perspiring on the couch.  Neither does handsome hunk husband sitting next to you.  Note that before you began reading he was hard working, bless his heart, now suddenly he's a handsome hunk of a man.  You begin to look at him in a different light.  After all he's YOUR McDreamy.
Later that night after you've created snotty nose number four and hunk husband is snoring next to you, you turn on the e-reader again to read more about sexy Logan and his devastating past.  Logan does all the things you wish snoring husband would do and is a millionaire to boot!  As you doze off, your dreams of him whisk you away to a world less stressful than your own.  When the sun rises the next morning you wake considering lingerie and making waxing appointments. 
At your 50th Anniversary someone asks you how you made it through six children?  Your husband winks at you and announces the secret is that, "she read lots of Mommy Porn."
SO, to all of my family and friends who are offended by the fact that I write Mommy Porn for a living...keep it to yourself, I'm busy saving the world here. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Blurb from GREED (Seven Deadly Sins Part 4)


With the sudden death of his father, Carlton is forced to go back to Worcester, England to execute the will.  With Liz by his side, Carlton finally has the confidence to face his demons, who’s impact runs much deeper than just his strained relationship to the dearly departed.  No one could possibly understand the devastation of losing a parent better than Liz, but her presence will require that Carlton come clean about his mysterious past.

Anxiety about meeting someone’s family is bad enough, but when the reason you’re meeting them is for a funeral is all the more daunting.  To top that off, the vast Michaud wealth was more than Liz expected.  While the butler may look upon Liz Martin as just another in a long line of money grubbers, she quickly wins over Carlton’s family with her Southern charm and quick wit.  Carlton’s sister Missy is absolutely smitten with Liz, but her real love lies with another… Ms. Patricia Williams.

Enter Kinsley Reynolds Michaud, the sixth and final wife.  Liz will come face to face with the one person in the world who not only could come between Carlton and his dad, but did.  Will Kinsley Reynolds finally be exposed as the gold digger she is as her greed drives her desire to confiscate the Michaud fortune?

With Carlton’s explanation of his dysfunctional family relationships, will Liz finally find out about his secretive past?  Was Carlton a dom?  Was he a sub?  Was he neither?  Will this open the door to that secret room inside his gym for Liz?

Friday, July 5, 2013

Pardon the Interruption!

Series Interuptus

There is nothing more horrible than to start a series, get a couple of books into it, and then can't find the next part.  And that promise I made to myself and my readers is exactly what  I have just done. 

I deeply apologize for the delay, but unlike many others I will resume this series with GREED (Seven Deadly Sins Part 4) which will be released on July 10, 2013.

I regret that this delay happened, but like most of you, I am a mother of two (who are currently camped out in my media room) that are home from college break and are demanding more of our time than we prepared for.

So, thanks in advance for everyone's patience and understanding.

Laura and Chris Cooper