Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Today's Special - - Roxanne St. Claire

It's my pleasure to introduce the fabulous Roxanne St. Claire.  Rocki, as she's more commonly known, is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 30 books and a winner of Romance Writers of America's RITA award.  Her romantic suspense series (the Bullet Catchers and Guardian Angelinos) keep me on the edge of my seat while her new Barefoot Bay contemporaries wrap their arms around me like a warm hug. Deeply emotional with just the right amount of sizzle, all of her books occupy places of honor on my keeper shelf.  In addition to all that, Rocki is also one of the nicest, kindest, most genuine people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing.  Please join me in giving her a very warm welcome!

Hi, Rocki!  Thanks for stopping by to chat about “Secrets on the Sand,” the first novella in your new The Billionaires of Barefoot Bay trilogy.  I was so happy to hear these novellas would be returning us to Barefoot Bay.  It’s become one of my favorite fictional places to visit.  Please tell our readers what to expect from this first story.

Hello and thank you so much for the invitation to be here! You know I love this blog and am delighted to answer questions, reply to comments, and, of course, give some beach books away!  Readers can expect a sexy-but-sweet hero, a determined-but-vulnerable heroine, a little heartache, a lot of romance, and a feel-good ending.  All for $2.99 on your ereader or Kindle app! And, readers can expect more billionaires, right around the corner in January and February.

I really liked Zeke and Mandy and wanted the best for them.  What would you like readers to understand about these two characters?

What a fun question.  I guess I’d like readers to understand that people change so much between high school and adult that they can be unrecognizable to each other.  But inside, they are the same person, despite failures or successes along the way.

Are you able to give us a sneak peek into the other novellas, “Seduction on the Sand” and “Scandal in the Sand?”  When will they be released?

All of the books are just over 40,000 words, so they are not short novellas -- they are about half the length of a book.  The billionaires in the books are all friends and they all share a love of baseball.  They play together on a recreational softball team in New York called The Niners (so named for the number of zeroes in their net worth) and, in the course of the first book, they decided to start a minor league baseball team in Barefoot Bay.  Seduction on the Sand is the story of real estate mogul Elliott Becker who has his eye on the last piece of land they need to close the deal, but the feisty goatherd who lives there has different ideas.  Scandal on the Sand is about billionaire bad-boy Nate Ivory, of the world-famous and insanely wealthy Ivory family.  He’s got a secret baby coming...and that’s going to shake a lot of worlds.

Your books have a tendency to keep me reading late into the night.  What’s the last book that kept you reading past your bedtime?

I would have to say SANCTUARY ISLAND by Lily Everett.  In fact...it gets a call out in Secrets on the Sand, that’s how much I love it.  (And the author!)

I second your recommendation of SANCTUARY ISLAND.  I loved it and was delighted to see the tie-in while reading Secrets on the Sand.  

We’re in a holiday frame of mind around here.  What Christmas, New Year’s or other holiday traditions are you looking forward to this month?

Every year, we do an over the top Italian Christmas Eve, called The Feast of the Seven Fishes.  And by “we,” of course I mean my husband the Italian Chef.  He pulls out all the stops and this nine or ten course feast is always the highlight of the season.

I love to bake, especially at this festive time of year.  What’s your favorite holiday treat?  Do you have a recipe to share with us?

This isn’t baking, but seafood crepes are of the very favorite dishes at our Christmas Eve feast.

Tasty shrimp and scallops rolled into a thin and delicate crepe and topped with a luxurious cream sauce, this rich and delicious entrée provides an exquisite showcase for the fruits of the sea.  My husband says the French try to take credit for the crepe…but the Italians perfected the crespelle!
Crespelle (Italian crepe)

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl using a whisk. Place the batter in the refrigerator for 1 hour. This allows the bubbles to subside so the crespelle will be less likely to tear during cooking. Heat a small non-stick pan or crepe pan and add butter to coat. Pour about an  ounce of batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly.  (The first one or two tries will be a bit messy but after a couple of tries they'll all come out perfectly.) Cook for 30 seconds and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds and remove to a cool plate  Continue until all batter is gone. After they have cooled you can stack them. They will be fine in the refrigerator for up to a couple of days. 

Seafood Filling (makes about one dozen crespelle)

  • 12 oz. 21-25 size shrimp cleaned and deveined and cut into 3 pieces each
  • 8 oz. scallops cut into similar size pieces as the shrimp
  • 3 tbls. butter
  • 1 large shallot chopped
  • generous splash of cognac or brandy
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream,
  • large pinch of dried Thyme
  • salt and white pepper to taste

Heat butter in sauté pan and sauté shallot a couple of minutes just until softened. Add seafood and cook on high heat for about 2 minutes. Add cognac (or brandy) and heat till alcohol evaporates (1 minute or so). Add thyme, salt, pepper, and cream. When adding cream, remember the consistency of the filling can be adjusted by how much you add. Cook another minute or so till cream slightly thickens. 
Remove from heat and fill and roll crespelle and place in a buttered 9 by 13 baking pan or glass oven dish.

Tomato Cream Sauce Topping
  • 2 tbls. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can peeled  tomatoes (crush by hand)
  • 1 tsp. thyme dried
  • 1 tsp. basil, dried
  • 1 whole bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Over medium heat, heat oil in a large pot until hot. Add onion and garlic, sauté for 3 to 5 minutes until the onions begin to appear translucent. Add the herbs and stir.  Add tomatoes. Sprinkle in sugar, and a splash of Marsala wine. Add salt and pepper. Lower the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, uncovered. Stir occasionally.
Prior to saucing the crespelle before baking, add some cream to lighten the tomato sauce.
Bake the crespelle for about 10 minutes in pre-heated 350 degree oven, then top with tomato cream sauce. 

Serve immediately and enjoy!!

Oh, man.  That sounds delicious.  I love crepes!  

What are you working on now?

Christmas!! But when not shopping, wrapping, and spreading cheer, I’m finishing up the last of the Billionaire books and planning the Barefoot Brides trilogy -- coming this summer and fall!

So many wonderful stories for us to look forward to!  

Thanks for visiting with us, Rocki.  Would you like to ask our readers a question today?

Do you open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?  Either way, I hope your stocking is stuffed and your heart is full of joy!  One winner will get a full set of FOUR Barefoot Bay books! 

Happy Holidays, everyone!!

What a wonderful giveaway!  Thank you!  Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year!

Visit Rocki's website and blog and connect with her online at Facebook and Twitter.


  1. We used to open our gifts on Christmas Eve when we had a big celebration - several family members are on the west coast and several have passed on. Now we open them on Christmas Day with our granddaughter and her parents.

    I am loving this series and look forward to the latest one. Thanks for the giveaway.

  2. Hi Pat! Isn't it a wonderful series? I've thoroughly enjoyed each of the books and am looking forward to more!

  3. Welcome, Rocki! Thanks for graciously answering all of my questions. I'm definitely going to try your seafood crepes/crespelles. They sound delicious!

  4. When our children were small, we allowed them to choose and open one gift on Christmas Eve which was always exciting for them. It also seemed to calm them somewhat. :-) The rest of the gifts were opened on Christmas Day. Our children have continued that tradition with their own families.

    I’m looking forward to reading Roxanne’s series and I know I will thoroughly enjoy it. The covers just make me want to visit a Caribbean island!

    Hope you have a wonderful Christmas and maybe NC will even get some snow for you.

    1. Connie, we had that same tradition when we were kids. After Christmas Eve church we'd come home and open one gift. Then, after a cup of hot chocolate (with whipped cream!), we'd be bundled into bed to await the arrival of Santa. Good memories. :)

      Hope you enjoy Rocki's Barefoot Bay and Billionaires of Barefoot Bay books. They are filled with humor, sizzle and emotion that will touch your heart.

  5. My parents had us open presents on Christmas Eve with my grandparents and great-aunt. We preferred Christmas morning. The kids loved putting milk and cookies out for Santa. I loved their eager, happy faces as they came down the stairs and saw that Santa had come with gifts for all.

    I've heard a lot of good things about your Barefoot series. I've enjoyed your DESIRES and Bullet Catcher books.

    Happy Holidays with your family. I envy you with a husband who loves to cook. The recipe sounds delicious!

    1. Laurie, I highly recommend Rocki's Barefoot Bay series. If you haven't read the Guardian Angelinos books yet, I highly recommend those too. Terrific romantic suspense!

  6. My side of the family opens presents on Christmas Eve after we have gone to a candlelight service at church. We drive to my in-laws for Christmas Day, the big dinner, and the opening of presents. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    1. Cheryl, how nice that you've developed special traditions for both sides of the family!

  7. On Christmas Morning. We had an exchange student one year that caused uproar in our household cause they wanted to open gifts on Christmas eve. We compromised and opened one Christmas Eve and the rest Christmas morning

    1. We also had an exchange student from a country where it's tradition to open gifts on Christmas Eve. That year, we blended traditions by opening the gifts from my parents on Christmas Eve and Santa's gifts on Christmas morning.

  8. On Christmas Morning. We wake up and have a wonderful greeting awaiting us. Wonderful series which is ideal. Your recipe looks delectable.

  9. As Italians, Christmas Eve is always the big feast. Yes, all the fishes. Your seafood crepes sound marvelous. My favorite is stuffed calamari sauce my mom makes. She makes a seasoned egg batter and stuffs cslamari with it, tying off the ends with thread. Pop them into the sauce, toss with linguini. A Capo Lavoro! A Masterpiece.

    This series sounds marvelous and i adore novellas! A win win situation!

    Buon Natale! Merry Christmas!

  10. On Christmas Eve after our family feast. Your books are enjoyable. thanks for this lovely post and recipe.

  11. both usually although we've all decided not to exchange gifts this year.

  12. All this food is making me hungry!!!! My family usually opened gifts on Christmas Eve because on Christmas Day we were visiting both sets of grandparents who also lived in the same town. After I married, my now ex-husband and I would sometimes open on Christmas Eve and sometimes on Christmas Day. That continued even after the boys came along. Now that it's just me, I wait til Christmas morning -- unless someone tells me to open a gift early. And I got one of those today from my aunt and uncle -- a box of lace cookies, a tin of mixed nuts and Christmas napkins to wipe my fingers with!

    No need to put me in the drawing. I have the books already -- and absolutely loved them! I can't wait for more from Barefoot Bay.

    1. Hi Marilyn! I love those "open early" gifts. I got one in the mail the other day - a box of "OMG! I can't eat just one!" chocolate truffles. Someone knows me very well. *grin*

  13. They sound delicious! When a child we opened presents after morning church services - the agony! I always had something to keep my 2 girls occupied Christmas Eve - crayons, coloring books and something to read! Then we opened presents early Christmas morning. They had to wait until I put the coffee on with added Kahlua or Bailey's Cream lol.

    1. I think that early morning coffee with Kahlua sounds like a great tradition! :)

  14. I'm another fan of the Barefoot Bay books. "Secrets on the Sand" is already on my Kindle, and I look forward to reading it.

    When we were kids, we had a big family dinner with tons of gifts afterwards at my paternal grandparents on Christmas Eve, we unwrapped Santa Claus gifts very early Christmas morning, and then we left for Alabama to spend the rest of Christmas Day with my mother's, much smaller family. These days we open immediate family gifts after breakfast Christmas Day. The family gathering with dinner and stacks of gifts varies now according to the schedules of our firefighter family members and according to when divorced parents have their kids. Life is more complicated now.

  15. Hi Everyone...baking with mom...when me an my sister were kids we got to open one present Christmas Eve, the rest all Christmas morning...Grandmas Christmas Eve with the whole family...
    We had Wiener schnitzel and stuffed cabbage every year...this year by my sister lasagna and what ever else she makes not sure...not sure....Love the Barefoot Bay books...going back to Barefoot is wonderful...Secrets on the Sand is just the best good..looking forward the rest to come...love Rocki with all my heart...Great blog...��....Started with an anthology....What you can't see...Hooked me onto Rocki's books...Then Guardian Angelinos and the Bullet Catchers awesome series...

  16. Since we are all adults now, we wait to open everything on Christmas Day. When we were younger, we opened opened one present on Christmas Eve. Normally it was from another member of the family.When my kids were younger, w would celebrate on both days, one for each side of our family. I just love Christmas, but looking for some down after the holidays, for some fun reading.

  17. We open our gifts on Christmas Eve When I was little Santa came and the same thing for my kids they were so excited. One year the post office came in the truck I thought the y would pass out...lol Love your books Roxie I can't wai t to start the new series


  18. Really depends - sometimes we let the boys open one present Christmas Eve and the rest Christmas Day. But hubby and I don't buy presents for each others. We focus mostly on our sons since we both believe Christmas is for the kids. Then tax time we buy ourselves something.

  19. We usually do the gifts here at home early on Christmas Eve because we travel to my sister's house later in the day and then spend Christmas day at my mother in law's house. Its a very busy couple of days.

  20. Christmas Day. Merry Christmas.

  21. We've always opened our gifts on Christmas morning while listening to Christmas music and eating a special breakfast in front of the lit tree. When our kids became adults we all made a pact to buy gifts only for the children in the family, which has worked out well for everyone. Christmas Eve, on the other hand, involves a special dinner and a candlelight service at the church before a good night's sleep. Thanks for asking. Have loved all your Barefoot stories so far, Roxie. jdh2690@gmail.com

  22. We always unwrap one present Christmas Eve, the rest Christmas morning. Since my kids have now learned the Santa secret (just last year), my Canadian mother has been squawking how she wants to open all the presents Christmas Eve, which I gather might be an English (or country with an English constitutional monarchy) tradition. That said, my American born dad and his mouthy daughter have said no way.

    There's nothing like opening presents while still your jammies and worrying over someone knocking over your hot cup of coffee. That's Christmas.

  23. Hello everyone and thank you so much, PJ, for a chance to be here and talk Christmas! Love hearing about all the traditions!! xo

  24. I adored my parents b/c we always opened on Christmas Eve. That was our immediate family christmas and Christmas Day was for the extended family. Thanks for sharing!

  25. Nowadays we open presents after Christmas lunch, when my young grand daughter acts as compère!

    However, in the early days of marriage, it was usually after a late breakfast.

    As students we weren't rich and the 'Christmas Goodlife' with Felicity Kendal and Richard Bryers comes close to characterising those early Christmases. "You mean you know its me!" LOL


  26. Was Christmas Day until kids went off to college. Now we make a big deal of our family of four for Christmas Eve...
    But I would be remiss if I didn't thank PJ for introducing me to your books.....I am reading them all....love them!

  27. I love..love your Barefoot Bay series!! You have a gift for writing that makes the stories easy to follow and quite memorable!
    We have a tradition of opening the family gifts on Christmas Eve then candlelight service at church and Santa comes on Christmas morning

  28. That recipe sounds fabulous, Rocki!

    We always open presents on Christmas day, but we start with our stockings. After those are broken into we pause for a breakfast that usually consists of cookies and coffee. LOL Once everyone is fortified we move on to the gifts under the tree.

    Marcy Shuler

  29. we always do the Christmas morning. and we open one present at a time. You wait for ever for Christmas morning and then it is.over in a flash!! I love Rocki's short hair!!

  30. We always open ours christmas morning.

  31. Hi Roxanne,
    Your Barefoot Bay books look really good!
    My family opens gifts on Chirstmas Eve.

  32. I'm looking forward to catching up with this series.

    We open one gift each on Christmas Eve and the rest after church on Christmas morning.

  33. I'm waiting for the drool to stop over that delicious sounding recipe. I'm definitely adding it to our Christmas Eve dishes. :)
    We always open everything on Christmas morning. When the kids were all very little , they handed one gift Christmas Eve to ope because they were Christmas pajamas. :) Please enter me if they are print. Series sounds awesome. Happy Holidays.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  34. Hubby and I always give each other an ornament every year and we open those on Christmas Eve after all the guest leave and the girls are in their beds. Then everything else is opened on Christmas Day.

    Love Rocki's Barefoot Bay series and the new book Secrets on the Sand is perfect! Fun, sexy read and I think Zeke is my new favorite hero! :)

  35. The kids are allowed to open one present each on Christmas Eve. They open all the others on Christmas morning.

  36. Christmas morning! Thanks for the giveaway.

    mlawson17 at Hotmail dot com

  37. One gift on Christmas Eve, the rest on Christmas morning! :-)

  38. We have always opened our gifts Christmas morning. When the children were little, we would put little wrapped gifts in their stockings along with the other goodies. They knew they could open those and have what was in their stocking as soon as they got up. In theory we would get a few more minutes to sleep. It did at least give us time to fix coffee and hot chocolate before getting down to the business of opening gifts.