…and the Jaunty Quills are celebrating! Today we’ve compiled our favorite drink recipes for your pleasure. If you’re looking for a cocktail to mix up tonight, try one of these.

Cindy Kirk’s Crazy Coyote Margarita


½ tbsp. granulated sugar

3 tbsp. fresh lime juice

1 ½ ounces Coyote Gold margarita mix



1. Use a cocktail shaker to mix together 1/2 tsp. of granulated sugar, 3 tbsp. of fresh lime juice, 1 1/2 ounces of Coyote Gold margarita mix, and a handful of ice. Shake vigorously for 20 to 30 seconds.

2. Rub a slice of lime along the rim of a margarita glass. Turn the glass upside down and coat the rim with salt from a plate.

3. Pour the margarita mixture through a strainer into the salt-rimmed margarita glass. Add a lime wedge to the rim.

Vanessa Kelly’s Kir Royale

One of my favorite Christmas drinks is a Kir Royale, which is basically a champagne cocktail. The Kir Royale is a dash of creme de cassis topped off with champagne!

 Kir Royale 2

Nancy Robards Thompson’s Classic Manhattan


2 ounces bourbon (or if you want a slightly sweeter drink, use one ounce of traditional bourbon and one ounce of honey bourbon)

1/2 ounce sweet vermouth

2-3 dashes Angostura bitters


Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a martini glass.

Garnish with a maraschino cherry. 

Kathleen O’Brien’s Max’s Hot Apple Pie Cocktail

This was created by Max Scherff at The Fairmont in San Francisco.


3/4 ounce(s) Stoli Vanilla Vodka

1 1/2 ounce(s) Butterscotch Schnapps

4 ounce(s) apple cider

1 ounce(s) whipped cream

1 cinnamon stick

Cinnamon powder, for garnish.



Combine spirits and cider, steaming until warm. Add cinnamon stick to footed mug and pour in liquid. Top with whipped cream and sprinkled cinnamon powder.

Kristan Higgins’s St. Germaine Martini


1 and a half parts vodka

1 part St-Germaine

1 half part lemon juice


Combine, shake gently, add a splash of vanilla seltzer water. Supremely delicious!

Katherine Garbera’s Sorbet and Champagne Cocktail



1 tsp. sorbet (perhaps raspberry or passion fruit)

Chilled champagne or Prosecco


Scoop sorbet into a champagne flute. Fill with chilled Champagne or Prosecco; stir.

Robyn DeHart

Robyn’s no whiz behind a bar, but she does love eggnog with a little kick of rum. Good choice, Robyn!

Mia Marlowe’s Hot Wassail (for the kids too!)

This is a seriously easy recipe that makes the house smell like Christmas. Here’s what you need:

1 QT Apple Juice

1 QT Cranberry Juice

1 Orange

Cinnamon Sticks

Whole Cloves

 Wassail with oranges and cloves


Pour the juice into a 5 quart pot and heat on low setting. Stick the orange with cloves. (This is a great project for kids. They love poking the cloves into the orange in fun patterns!) You can leave the orange whole or cut it into quarters. Float the cloved orange and the cinnamon sticks in the juice. Let it simmer till you’re ready to serve!

If you prefer the vino…

Jesse Hayworth with our wine selection.

I’m more of a wine girl, and love to celebrate with a Benefit Wine


They taste good—though I’ve been known to enjoy Cardboardeaux (aka boxed wine), so take that for what it’s worth—have cool labels, and ~30% of the sale price goes to the charity you select.

Shana’s Sparkling Cider

I usually celebrate by toasting with my daughter and a glass of sparkling grape juice. However you choose to celebrate, we hope it’s a wonderful beginning to 2014!


Shana Galen
Shana Galen


bad boys, Heroes, Kristan Higgins, Movies, Shana Galen

Something strange must happen to mothers of young children. I remember Kristan Higgins talking about how when her kids were young and how excited she was when a cute actor was on Sesame Street. She’d call her girlfriends to make sure they were watching.

At the time, my daughter was too young to watch Sesame Street, and I think I chalked it up to another one of those weird but funny things Kristan Higgins does.

Until recently.

After four years of watching children’s shows and movies almost exclusively, I think they have messed with my head. I’ve noticed I have crushes on fictional heroes—and not fictional heroes like Jamie from Outlander or Roarke from JD Robb’s In Death series. Heroes like Flynn Ryder from Tangled.

Here he is.


And again.

 flynn nose

He’s funny! How could you not like that? And he’s a thief who ends up reforming. That’s the stuff romance novels are made of, right? Bad boy hero meets the heroine and changes to be a better man.

 And then there’s Terence from Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure.

 Terence ref

 He’s a great friend to Tinker Bell. I could totally see a Young Adult novel where the best friend Terence ends up winning the fairy heroine.

And I can’t forget Nod from Epic. He’s cute and a warrior. How we do love our sexy warriors in romance novels.


Do you have any crushes on fictional guys—cartoon or otherwise? And if you, like me love Flynn, check out my All Flynn Pinterest board.


Jaunty Quills
Jaunty Quills


Kristan Higgins, Our Books

Congratulations to our own Kristan Higgins! THE BEST MAN  is a New York Times, USA TODAY and Amazon bestseller!

Coloured air balloons

Cheers and confetti all around!


ECover-TheGentlemanThiefWe’re all readers here at the Jaunty Quills and I thought it might be fun to geek out today and chat about some books we’ve read recently. So answer the following questions and let’s chat. I’ll pick two commenters to win a copy of my novella, Her Gentleman Thief.

What’s the best book you’ve read recently? For me, it would have to be our own JQ, Kristan Higgins, Catch of the Day. It was just delightful with a heroine I could relate to (in so many ways) and a hero I wanted to spend a lot of alone time with….

What’s your favorite book series? Is it stupid for me to comment that this is a hard question? Don’t answer that. I can’t not mention Harry Potter or the Hunger Games, but I’m going to disqualify those and make myself pick a romance series, I’d have to say it’s a toss up between JD Robb’s In Death series and Suzanne Enoch’s Lessons in Love.

What does a book have to have to make it on your keeper shelf? I have to not only love the book and the story, but both characters. There have been plenty of books I’ve read where I’ve really loved either the hero or the heroine but not both, but to be a keeper, it’s got to be 100% love fest.

What’s the saddest book you’ve read? I don’t generally pick sad books because I don’t like to deal with much angst when it comes to my reading material, I remember I read a book (many years ago) called The Marriage Bed by Stephanie Mittman and I sobbed through the whole book.

Who is your go-to author when you need to fall into a book and you know they won’t fail to satisfy you with a great story? Suzanne Enoch or JD Robb

So how about you? Let’s talk books and you might win a free one for yourself!

JQ 1

As a special treat today, I asked some of the Quills about their most memorable Valentine’s Days. Here’s what they said:

Shana: When I was in high school, there was one Valentine’s Day that I didn’t have a boyfriend,ifyougivearake-300 and I felt so sorry for myself. I moped all day, didn’t get out of my pajamas, and didn’t put any make-up on or fix my hair. This was in the days of lots of make-up and big hair. My mom kept telling me to get dressed, but I was having a pity party. What I didn’t know was that a guy I’d dated a few times had called her and asked if it was okay if he stopped over and surprised me with flowers. He showed up, and I was so embarrassed. It was actually very sweet of him to bring me flowers but being all of sixteen I was too worried about how I looked to be as excited as I should have been.

JQ NancyNancy: I don’t know that I can single out one most romantic Valentine’s Day in particular. That’s because The Chef is a master at making all Valentine’s Days special and romantic. He never forgets and always brings me a dozen red roses, champagne and the perfect card. Usually, he gives me chocolates, depending on how loudly I’ve proclaimed I’m on a diet. Still, calorie counting or not, there’s always a fabulous meal: lobster or filet with cognac peppercorn sauce. Or Lobster AND filet with cognac peppercorn sauce…. One of the best touches is that he also gives our daughter flowers-a bouquet of pink carnations. There’s something extra romantic in him not only being a great husband, but also being such a wonderful father.

Kristan: My first Valentine’s Day out of college, I was alone in a new city, worked for povertyJQ Kristan wages and didn’t have too many friends. Boo hoo! Valentine’s Day with a guy? As probable as running into a Saudi prince at the pizza place on the corner. Imagine my surprise when a beautiful bouquet of flowers was delivered to work! “From your secret admirer,” the card said. I called my dad and thanked him. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said, but I could tell he was smiling. He died that same year. I think of him every day, but I always smile on Valentine’s Day, remembering how dear old Dad made sure I got flowers from someone who loved me a whole heck of a lot.

Sizzle BlazeKathy: One of my favorite Valentine’s days was when my kids were about 8 and 13 and they got totally into the holiday picking out stuffed animals and chocolates for each other and my husband and I.  They even made Valentine’s for us from our dog.  It was such a fun time for us all.

Mia: This Valentine date was the first time I’d gone out with this red-headed guy I knew from church and it promised to be a lovely one. He took me to a dance at the Surf Ballroom, a place that epitomized romance in my little corner of the upper midwest. And I did enjoy the evening of dancing, but then he ran out of gas (Does anybody ever really do that?) on the way home (which was about 20 miles away).JQ Mia He had to hike back into town for a can of gas while I froze my tootsies in the cold car (February in Northern Iowa is no joke!) To make matters worse, we were cutting things close on my curfew. I’m a railroader’s daughter. At my house, not being on time was regarded as only slightly less heinous than becoming pregnant out of wedlock! I knew I was going to catch it when I got home.

However, my date was not in a hurry to let me out of the car once we got in my driveway. I managed to pull out of his grasp, but he tailed me to the pool of yellow light at my back door and forced a kiss on me. It was our first date and I really didn’t want to kiss him. I wanted to get inside so I could explain to my folks that it was not my fault I was seriously late. I JQ Cindyfinally told the guy I didn’t think things were going to work out between us and made a break for it. Then he stalked me for the next six months and made creepy phone calls.  So the moral of the story is…beware of red headed men!

Cindy: Worst Valentine’s Day? Most memorable Valentine’s Day? I racked my brains but couldn’t come up with anything. My husband and I have been together since high school. We’re the kind of couple who goes out the weekend before the big day, so we don’t have to fight the crowds. We buy the boxes of heart-shaped Valentine’s Day candy after the big day (when it hits 75% off  )because it’s a better deal. I’d call us practical. You might call us boring. But we’ve been together a
long time and hey, it works for us!securedownload

Robyn: Valentine’s Day is one of those I’ve had a love/hate relationship with. As a little girl, I loved it because my Daddy would give me sweet cards and my own (small) heart-shaped box of chocolates. I loved that. But with a series of disappointments through high school and college, I pretty much ignored the holiday for a few years. Then I met The Professor. Our first Valentine’s Day together was actually a month before we got married. I was trying to eat healthily so that I could fit into my wedding dress so he went to a gourmet chocolate shop here and bought me sugar-free candies. I thought that was so sweet and thoughtful. Every year he brings me a sweet card (that I know he spend so much time trying to find the perfect one) and WarriorLaird[1]roses. I know that might seem too traditional and not creative, but I love it!

Margo: The absolute best Valentine’s Day gift was from my mom. Our kids were about 2, 4 and 6, and Mom called and said she would take the kids overnight if we wanted to make reservations somewhere. Omg, it was hard to know what to do! Stay home and enjoy the peace and quiet? Go to a Red Wings hockey game, drink some beer and go home? (not)  When it came down to it, we went to a play, had a late, romantic dinner, and then stayed the night at the Ritz Hotel. In those days when it was non-stop kid stuff, that night out was absolutely heaven!

Do you have a Valentine’s Day memory that stands out? Tell us, and we’ll pick three random participants who will each receive a copy of one of our books. Come on – what was your most memorable (good or bad) Valentine’s Day?

Keep in contact through the following social networks or via RSS feed:

  • Follow on Facebook
  • Follow on Twitter
  • Subscribe