I am so happy to welcome a delightful fellow Rose from The Wild Rose Press–Shirley Goldberg. Shirley has a great new book just out (Dec. 7) called A Little Bit of Lust, and its full of the wonderful “mature” romance you’ve come to expect from her. And wait–there are two very special surprises from her. She has a couple of books on sale AND she’s offering you all her humorous holiday short story, “A Bar, Two Dates, and Reindeer Cookies.” The link is at the bottom of the page, along with the names of the sale books.

Thanks so much for joining us today, Shirley. Please tell us all about the book, your spunky heroine, and something about yourself!

Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog, Barbara. I write romancey women’s fiction and my characters are in their forties and fifties, a bit older than those usually found in romances.

In fact, Sunny, the main character in my first book, Middle Ageish, joked about my appearance on your historical romance blog. “Shirley’s characters are all historical,” she said.

Ha ha. I’m sure you appreciated that, Shirley.

Sunny loves reading historical romance, by the way. I think she’s feeling a tad neglected because A Little Bit of Lust released a few days ago and Lucy, the main character, is getting all the attention. There are days when my characters get on my last nerve. I wonder if that’s true for other authors.

Oh, I’ll bet so! I Imagine hands are shooting up everywhere. I know mine is! My current heroine can’t seem to make up her mind to stay–or leave her yummy suitor!

Speaking of historical, I was very interested to read about the daily lives of people in the middle-ages on this blog since Mary Morgan and Anastasia Abboud also take turns posting riveting and sometimes gruesome stories. (I read about the “Catherine Wheel.”) Life wasn’t easy back in the medieval day.

Food played an important part in celebrations, and it’s also important in my novel. Lucy bakes desserts and distributes them to a few restaurants on the Connecticut shoreline. She also features her desserts on Instagram, and told me she’d like to share her recipe for Chocolate Orange Brownies with your readers. Herewith, Lucy’s recipe, which was designed by a young friend of mine, Eva Papadogiorgaki, The Cretan Nutritionist. Find her on Instagram and Facebook @thecretannutritionist.

Chocolate Orange Brownies

*While  the combination of chocolate and orange might still be under debate, this recipe is not. Easy to make, impressive to serve and super tasty!


½ cup melted butter

¼ cup cocoa powder

2 eggs

¾ cup sugar

¾ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup chopped walnuts

2 Tbsp orange juice

1 Tbsp orange zest

1/8 tsp salt


1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar

3 Tbsp soft butter

2 Tbsp orange juice

2 tsp orange zest


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Stir cocoa into melted butter until incorporated. In a separate bowl beat eggs and add the cocoa mixture. Add. Sugar, flour, walnuts, orange juice and zest and salt. Stir with a spatula just until incorporated. Grease and flour an 8×8” baking pan and pour the mixture in. Bake for 25-30 minutes and cool.

Make the frosting by stirring all ingredients together well with a hand mixer or a whisk.

Spread frosting over the cooled brownies and serve. Garnish with more orange zest if you like.

Oh, my goodness. This sounds So good. and decadent. I can’t wait to try it. Now, tell us a little about your new book.

Here’s the blurb.

Love-cynical Lucy Bernard delights in her independence. Baking, all things Instagram, the occasional special guy, and most of all hanging out with best friends Deon Goldbloom and Phoebe Karis. But when Deon kisses Lucy at the beach on a chilly afternoon, the two friends jump into a lust-filled romantic weekend. So what’s with slotting her into “ignore” status afterward?

Deon Goldbloom is a widower who can’t move on after his wife’s death. Is he a little crazy spending a sexy few days with Lucy and calling it the best time he’s had in four years? Yeah. Except blue Monday comes calling, and Deon isn’t ready for the guilt.

Lucy wonders how a smoochy weekend turns into a friends-with-benefits disaster. And Deon wonders if he’s made the biggest mistake of his life putting Lucy on “ignore.” Using all his nerdy charms, he launches a campaign to bring Lucy around. Maybe they can chart a course back to one another if Lucy will only forgive him.


Between spoonfuls of grainy steel cut oatmeal, Lucy dictated her list of summer resolutions into the Reminders app on her phone. Birds chirped outside the open kitchen window where the scent of freshly mown grass hung in the air.

Twelve days until summer vacation.

A text blew in from Phoebe. ––Hot guy Marcus got my number and already asked me out. Let’s talk later.––   

Her thumb hovered over the message icon. She and Phoebe going out with the same man? A lousy idea. Maybe she wouldn’t go out with him. Then she remembered his biceps, his negative stomach in the black T-shirt, his full-on banter.

This will sort itself out, a phrase her mom was fond of and which she’d never for a moment believed. It roosted in her head conveniently as she moved on to more pleasant tasks than telling her best friend her hottie was keen on two women. 

At the sink, she texted Deon her list of resolutions. ––Dude, take a look at how productive MY summer’s gonna be. You?––

She opened the cupboard to get out the ingredients for chocolate orange brownies. On autopilot,  she preheated the oven and grabbed an orange and the zester. Slopped a half cup of butter in the pan, stirred in the cocoa, and took it off the burner to cool. Marcus didn’t waste time. Last night after their beach stroll, he’d dropped her home and asked for her number. No kissing but she knew. They hit it off. Everything was effortless, the banter, a little hand holding.

Except for the part where he’d asked out her best friend.

Lucy greased and floured the pan. Marcus probably had no idea which one of them he liked better.

Next, she beat the eggs and added the cocoa mixture, turning Marcus over in her mind. Pretty clear he’d asked them both out to compare. Couldn’t blame the guy.

“I’ll blame if I want to,” she sang out loud to the tune of an ancient Leslie Gore song. Instantly, her mood improved. She measured and threw in sugar, flour, walnuts, juice, zest and salt. Poured the mixture into the brownie pan and shoved it in the oven. She set the timer and wiped down the counters and stovetop.

In the study at her computer, she checked the dating site for notifications. There were four lame attempts to grab her attention and she deleted them. Posting photos on Instagram or baking a new pie was more fun.

On Safari, she typed in fruit pies and 699,807,368 results popped up, including a fruit pie with a lattice crust that would photograph oh, so well for Instagram.

The doorbell rang, and she startled, peeked out the window. Deon. Deon? At nine am? She trotted down the stairs and swung open the door.

“Hey.” His hair stood up cartoonishly. “I was out for a run and I ended up here. Smells like you got up early. Watcha makin’?” He entered, sniffing and rubbed his belly in a parody of a ravenous person. “Got any of those orange brownies? You hiding ‘em?” He jerked open the sliding door to the mini laundry room. “Those brownies? I dream about them every so often.” 

Author Bio

Shirley Goldberg is a writer, novelist, and former ESL and French teacher who’s lived in Paris, Crete, and Casablanca. She writes about men and women of a certain age starting over. Her website http://midagedating.com offers a humorous look at dating in mid-life, and her friends like to guess which stories are true. A Little Bit of Lust is her third book in the series Starting Over, although all her books are standalone. Shirley’s characters all believe you should never leave home without your sense of humor and she agrees.

Social Media Links





Buy Links Shortcuts:

All Bookstores Universal Link


Barnes & Noble

Apple Books

Buy Links for A Little Bit of Lust  

Universal link to all bookstores:  https://books2read.com/u/mlXxKM



~~Shirley’s books on sale for .99!~~

Middle Ageish


A holiday short story.

Eat Your Heart Out




SHIRLEY’S SPECIAL SHORT STORY LINK. https://dl.bookfunnel.com/wfh0lvgvdq “They’ll need to sign up for my newsletter,” she said, “but can unsubscribe at any time. ”


As winter approached,  Nov. 25, was another special day of celebration in the medieval world. It was St. Catherine’s Day, observed for St. Catherine of Alexandria. And as the name suggests, it’s a feast day particularly dear to women.

St. Catherine, who died a virgin martyr in 305 AD, was recognized as a patron saint by several groups such as lawyers and wheelwrights. But most prominently, she was “revered a women’s guide and guardian” (Cosman 87), especially of unmarried women, including female students.

St. Catherine (Santa Catalina de Alejandría)

Because of her association with women, St. Catherine Day (Catherning) could be considered a ‘woman’s day’ as St. Martin’s Day or Martinmas could be considered a man’s day. As Madeleine Pelner Cosman says, “Many Cathernings, therefore, are women’s feasts” (87). On that day, various kinds of celebrations were conducted featuring wheels or wheel-shaped objects.

One of the primary objects in these festivities was a Catherine Wheel. A wagon wheel, or something in that shape, was decorated with lighted candles at the ends of the spokes. In much later years, after the Guy Faulks uprising, fireworks might replace the candles when the wheels were outside. In medieval times, the lighted wheels could be hung above diners in the great hall.

Many other decorations and food items were in the shape of wheels as well. Catherine or Cattern Cakes were baked. Rich with sugar and caraway seeds, they have long been a delicacy associated with the celebration.

Why is everything in a wheel or spoke shape? The wheel commemorates the remarkable story of the death of St. Catherine.

Condemned by the Roman Emperor Maximinus (a truly despicable guy who killed, among others, his wife and 200 of his soldiers for converting to Christianity), Catherine (who converted them) was ordered put to death on a wheel. To the astonishment and consternation of onlookers, the wheel broke. (It must be pointed out that the story about him killing his wife may have been a legend. No historical data has yet confirmed that.)

However, he had ordered Catherine imprisoned and, the story goes, even proposed to her. Rather than accept and become a queen, she refused, citing her devotion to Jesus. She then was condemned to death on a wheel, a particularly cruel form of execution where a person’s limbs were placed around the spokes and their bones broken with a metal rod or clubs. (Hence the term “broken on the wheel”.) She reportedly touched the wheel and it fell apart.

‘The Breaking Wheel’ Google image

Many people viewed this as divine intervention, but officials were not to be deterred. Catherine was removed from the broken wheel and beheaded. She was considered one of the most important female martyrs in early Church history. Hers is one of the voices Joan of Arc was said to have heard.

One tradition in France reportedly was for unmarried women between the ages of 25 and 30 to wear headgear called ‘crispins’ hence becoming known as Crispinettes.

Because she was such a symbol for unmarried women in many countries, sayings, songs, etc., developed over the years. So on her day, Nov. 25, one could often hear girls chanting:

“St Catherine, St Catherine, O lend me thine aid
And grant that I never may die an old maid.”

Or perhaps:

”A husband, St. Catherine
A handsome one, St. Catherine
A rich one, St. Catherine
A nice one, St. Catherine
And soon, St. Catherine”

(Interestingly, modern allusions to it still are made. On a British TV show I watched recently, a mystery, one character referred to someone behaving like a ‘Catherine Wheel.’)


Cosman, Madeleine Pelner. Medieval Holidays and Festivals. New York: Scribner’s Sons, 1981.



NOTE: Be sure to visit my fellow Medieval Monday Roses (The Wild Rose Press) Mary Morgan and Anastasia Abboud . They always have something interesting planned. You can find them here:

Mary: https://www.marymorganauthor.com/blog

Anastasia: http://anastasiaabboud.com

Mark your calendars for Dec 2 and Dec. 3 for your very own Santa Time. Because what could be better than free books, goodies, and gift cards? They will all be on the following FB site on the first Friday and Saturday of Christmas Month. https://www.facebook.com/groups/DangerouslyDarkDarlings

Have you been naughty or nice? If the answer is ‘Yes’!
Join Abbie’s Dangerously Dark Darlings Facebook Group for Secret Santa Days! 

Over 225 Authors will be gifting books, gift cards, and swag! It’s a great way to kick off the Holiday Season and meet some new authors! You’ll find all genres of books there–including mine. See you then.


Martinmas: Celebrating the Oncoming Winter

We don’t always think of the medieval period as being a time of parties. But people then actually celebrated a variety of special days, many named for saints. Often the saint day observances coincided with earlier (pagan) celebrations.

On Nov. 11, St. Martin’s Day or Martinmas was, indeed, a major holiday. The Martinmas feast, celebrated the end of autumn and the ‘natural’ beginning of winter.

Calendar page for November from Lambert le Begue’s Psalter. (Notice the astrological sign of Sagittarius in lower right. Le Begue died in 1177. He founded the Béguine monastery of St Christophe in Liège,)

By November the autumn harvest was complete and the land prepared for winter crops. Time to get ready for the challenging days of winter. Hogs that had been turned out into the woods in October to fatten on acorns were brought in and slaughtered, and the meat preserved. Cattle were butchered, as well, keeping only those few used to begin production in the spring. (Food was scarce enough; extra for animals wasn’t available.)

In fact, the term Martinmas (or martlemass) cattle was applied to cattle butchered at this time of year. And the hog slaughter is reflected in the old English saying his “His Martinmas will come as it does to every hog,” meaning “he will get his comeuppance” or “everyone must die” (Wikipedia.com).

Because of this widespread butchering, November was often called Bloodmonth. Sounds gruesome, doesn’t it? Actually, it refers to this period of slaughtering animals to be preserved for food during the long, cold months ahead.

The Old English name for November was ‘Blotmonth’ literally “blood-month,” “the time when the early Saxons prepared for winter by sacrificing animals, which they then butchered and stored for food” (etymonline.com). The name November came from “ninth month” which was where November fell in the old Roman calendar.

This celebration of the end-of-harvest-beginning-of-winter honors St. Martin of Tours. A predominant image of St. Martin is of his cutting his cloak in half during snowstorm and sharing with a beggar he saw along the roadside. It is said that during that same night, he had a dream of Jesus who appeared in half a cloak and said Martin has been chosen.

St. Martin Dividing His Cloak by van Dyck c. 1618

He was a former Roman soldier who later became a humble monk and so deplored the idea of  becoming a bishop, tradition says, he hid in a pen of geese. It didn’t save him. The honking geese alerted churchmen to his whereabouts. He was brought forth and ordained Bishop of Tours. Thereafter, geese were identified with St. Martin. And goose traditionally was eaten during the Martinmas feasts. Unless you were poor, of course. Then you couldn’t afford it. If you were lucky, you got chicken. Or maybe pork. Or beef. Those two meats were handy, after all.

In the countryside, this time of bounty was celebrated with bonfires, dancing and, of course, drinking and eating. In Scotland, it was a quarter day. (England’s corresponding quarter day fell in September.)

St. Martin’s day, the first feast day in November, could be considered a ‘man’s day.’ But the second November feast/holiday later in the month was in honor of St. Catherine. It was considered a ‘ladies’ day.’ It gave rise to the term the Catherine Wheel. But that’s another story.

Thanks for stopping by to hear the story of St. Martin’s Day and Feast. It sounds a lot like Thanksgiving, doesn’t it? What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish?







NOTE: Be sure to visit my fellow Medieval Monday Roses (The Wild Rose Press) Mary Morgan and Anastasia Abboud . They always have something interesting planned. You can find them here:

Mary: https://www.marymorganauthor.com/blog

Anastasia: http://anastasiaabboud.com

Mark your calendars for Dec 2 and Dec. 3 for your very own Santa Time. Because what could be better than free books, goodies, and gift cards? They will all be on the following FB site on the first Friday and Saturday of Christmas Month. https://www.facebook.com/groups/DangerouslyDarkDarlings

Have you been naughty or nice? If the answer is ‘Yes’!
Join Abbie’s Dangerously Dark Darlings Facebook Group for Secret Santa Days! 

Over 225 Authors will be gifting books, gift cards, and swag! It’s a great way to kick off the Holiday Season and meet some new authors! You’ll find all genres of books there–including mine. See you then.

Scroll to Top