Can you believe it? Today is the day!

Release day of “Heart Pressed”

Crushes are great for grapes, wine, and romance—not so great for hearts.

The Sweetheart Festival, an Elnora Island institution, has sparked more than a few romances over the years, but who would have thought it would light a fire in two hearts from two of the island’s oldest families. When Amara Martin and Dante Greco meet, sparks fly that may ignite more than romance.

Two wineries, old feuds, generations of traditions.

Seeing the attraction at Amara and Dante’s chance meeting, Beth Stevens and Scott Anderson join forces to do a little matchmaking, not realizing the pressure it would bring to both households and their own hearts. The new couple must decide if they will adhere to tradition or break free from expectations and choose love. Pressure on every side threatens a love that hasn’t yet had a chance to ripen—for both Amara and Dante as well as for Beth and Scott.

In this “forbidden love” novel, Heart Pressed continues the Elnora Island romances of the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.
The Independence Islands Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

Click here to buy

Is your family recipe book as boring as mine?

When this journey began, I never thought about how boring my personal recipe book might be. Then I meet “Beth” and my eyes have been opened. I wish I could share with you all of the amazing dishes and desserts I have found. Not all of it has been food truck fair like tantalizing fish tacos or burrito pork bombs. Oh no, I have learned what wines to pair with grilled meats, french silk, and seafood–I’m just going to say, if you enjoy a glass with a meal from time to time, knowing this only heightens the experience.

I knew our family’s recipe book was boorish at best because we have lived with little children until recently. Not that we’d shipped them off, but they just grew up. Our oldest will be 19 in two months and our baby is now 14, so hot dogs with mac & cheese or chicken nuggets and french fries.

Over the years, we have developed quite a sweet tooth and one of our favorite, homemade sweets was cookies. And not just those frosted sugar cookie ones. No, only the chocolate chip would suffice–and pie, we love pie! So, I went on a little hunt to find a yummy CCC (Chocolate Chip Cookie) that was easy to make and we wouldn’t have a hard time substitution ingredients of our families true favorite cookie, my Aunt Mable’s (her recipe calls for things like sour milk and shortening but it is a truly scratch cookie-I’m not sharing that one).

So, I found this one

Hot Chocolate cookies

Makes 3 dozen cookies

2 cups all purpose flour

2/3 cups cocoa powder

1 Tbsp cinnamon 

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter – softened 

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 

2 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract 

1 package of chocolate chips

(1 cup of mini marshmallows)

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. While that preheats lightly grease a baking sheet and get your cooling racks ready.
  2. Mixed together flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. When that is done set it aside.
  3. Cream together or softened butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy
  4. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, until it is fully incorporated into your butter and sugar mixture.
  5. Add dry ingredients and mix until everything is well combined
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips. (And marshmallows if you’d like)
  7. Drop rounded tablespoons of the cookie dough batter onto The lightly greased cookie sheet.
  8. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Let set on the sheet before placing and cooling racks.
  9. Enjoy!

****Ben Hornigold loves these cookies****


Now, doesn’t that look yummy?

I hope you will take time to give it a try. It might be worth it on these cold winter days.

Don’t go too far though, you have five more days of yummy sweetness to sample. Stop by each day to get the links to each author’s site and beside to enter each giveaway.

Thank you for coming to visit.

Melissa Wardwell – Feb. 23rd

Kari Trumbo – Feb. 24th

Rachel Skatvold – Feb. 25th

Tabitha Bouldin – Feb. 26th

Carolyn Miller – Feb. 27th

Chautona Havig – Feb. 28th

CelebrateLit Publishing’s Sandy Barela – Mar. 1st


  1. Trixi

    I am definitely saving (and making) this recipe! My family will love them 😋😋

  2. Sarah Taylor

    These sound so amazing I will be making these!

  3. Sarah Taylor

    I am not finding a post for Tabitha for today Feb.26th

    • MelissaWardwell

      I am so sorry. I forgot to post those links. I will get those up tomorrow

  4. Sarah Taylor

    Thank you Melissa!