Category Archives: Nicole’s fiction

Quick Roasted Tomato and Artichoke Spaghetti

Here’s a quick pasta dish that’s as delicious as it is healthy.  It’s all done in a single skillet, aside from boiling the pasta, and you can vary the recipe in several ways.  Serves four.

One 8 oz. box spaghetti, linguine or fettucine

One 16 oz package frozen artichoke quarters

Juice of one lemon and zest.

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half

1 large yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped, or to taste

1/2 c. slivered almonds, or to taste

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

3/4 c. shredded parmesan cheese

2 tbsp. olive oil

salt and pepper as desired

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large skillet that is heat-proof enough for broiling (cast iron is best), combine artichoke quarters, tomatoes, onion, and garlic. Add olive oil and lemon juice and toss.  Add thyme and any desired salt/pepper, and toss again.

Place skillet in preheated oven and set timer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, start large kettle to boil for pasta.  Be sure to add enough salt to water.  It should be as salty as the ocean.

Toast your almonds at 375 degrees, preferably in a toaster oven, so you can keep an eye on them. Look away and you’ll burn them. They should be golden, which only takes about 5 minutes. When done, take out and set aside.

When 15 minutes has elapsed on your oven timer, take out artichoke mix, zest lemon over it, toss, and return to oven.

When your oven timer has gone off, your pasta water should be boiling.  Add pasta to water and follow package directions for cook time.  Meanwhile, turn oven to broil in order to caramelize artichoke mix.  Set timer for 8-10 minutes, but check to make sure you don’t burn veggies.

When pasta is almost done– about a minute short — remove skillet from oven, and set on stovetop over lowest heat. Add two ladles of pasta water, then drain pasta in colander over sink.  While pasta is still dripping, throw it into skillet, add almonds, and toss thoroughly until veggies are evenly distributed.

Distribute pasta mix on four plates and top with parmesan cheese.

Some variations:  add a couple of tablespoons of capers.  Use pistachios instead of almonds.  Use oregano instead of thyme.  Use romano cheese instead of parmesan.  Crumble bacon over mix.



Thank you for all your kind comments about this blog.  For those of you who would like to read more, the Kindle version of one of my novels, REGRET NOT A MOMENT, is on sale this week — November 4-10, 2014, for 99 cents/99£.  The usual price is $3.99.

This novel has received reader raves with an average 4.4 star Amazon rating.

Regret - Kindle Format Like A Book[1]The book opens in Virginia horse country. The year is 1930. Beautiful, witty Devon is the daughter of a prominent Virginia family. Many men have fallen under her spell, but none has captured her heart, until she meets New York tycoon John Alexander. Their future seems assured: they will marry, raise a family, turn their country estate into the best Thoroughbred farm in the nation. But what Devon cannot foresee are the conflicts that will drive away her husband or the tragedy that will devastate their marriage.

Be transported from lush Virginia hunt country to sophisticated New York and the embassies of Paris. Travel from the Hollywood glamour of Hearst castle in its heyday to the turmoil of war-torn Cairo, and the enclaves of aristocratic England. Devon’s tale takes you through the decades from peaceful pre-war America to the danger of World War II, and the racial unrest of the South of the 1950s and’60s.

Enjoy the thrill of Thoroughbred racing with one of the first women to break into the male-dominated sport and one of the first African-American men to become renowned as a world-class trainer.

Buy the book here: REGRET NOT A MOMENT

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Romance novel No More Lonely Nights will be on sale for 99 cents, from 10/6/14 through 10/12/14.  The latest stellar review is from Book Viral, “The frustrations and expectations of yesteryear make a memorable backdrop in No More Lonely Nights, from author Nicole McGehee. Wonderfully introspective, it’s certainly an engaging narrative. Not one that suffers from trite prosaicisms, but reflects the less prescriptive and wholly unpredicted choices life often presents as the years pass by. With gentle momentum, McGehee’s plot is driven by a flair for dialogue and vibrant stock characters, with none more alluring than her protagonist Dominique Avallon. She’s strong and well rendered with McGehee wisely allowing room for her to grow. Bringing her frustrations and anguish to the fore as she suffers through the transitions with which she is faced, but what makes No More Lonely Nights such a memorable read is that McGehee allows her readers a generous margin for interpretation. Yes, the underlying theme is the evolution of women’s roles in society, but it’s the unscripted complexity of life that prevails and remains ever prevalent.

 “A truly mesmerising read from beginning to end, No More Lonely Nights proves an intelligent and heartfelt read that will linger long after the last page is turned.  A fine example of its genre and undeniably deserving of a place on your bookshelf, it is recommended without reservation!”

To read the first chapter of this book, which starts in the Mad Men -era and spans 20 years, please  click on cover photo at right, which takes you to the book’s Amazon Kindle page.

Direct link is


Recipe: Delish, Lo-Cal Chicken w/Artichokes

In bed is where I dream up recipes. I’ll be laying there in a groggy state, hungry, and I’ll think about what I have in the house that might constitute a yummy dish.  Here’s one I dreamed up the other morning.  It dresses up chicken breasts, which are too often dry and dull.  There are 4 steps to this dish, but it is very easy and fool proof:

1. Marinate 2. Grill 3. Bake 4. Slice, sauce and serve.


2 chicken breasts

6 to 8 oz. frozen artichoke quarters

juice of 2 lemons

2 cloves garlic, crushed or very finely minced

3 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. butter or butter substitute

One sprig fresh rosemary, or 1/2 tsp. dried

1 tbsp. capers

Salt and pepper to taste

Step 1. Marinate

For the marinade:  2 tbsp. olive oil, juice of one lemon, one clove of crushed garlic, one sprig fresh rosemary, leaves stripped off stem or 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in an oven-safe glass container/casserole with a lid, such as Corning Ware. Add 2 chicken breasts, turn to coat with liquid, cover with lid and refrigerate, ideally for at least an hour.

Step 2. Grill

GRILL chicken breasts on high heat, 6 minutes a side, using all the marinade in the process. You should see grill marks. Meanwhile rinse and dry your marinade dish for re-use in next step. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

When chicken is finished grilling, remove it from grill and put into your oven-safe dish for baking.

Step 3. Bake

Top chicken with:

6 to 8 oz. frozen artichoke quarters, 1 tbsp. capers, juice of 1/2 lemon, drizzle of olive oil (about 1 tbsp.), salt and pepper. Bake for 17-20 minutes until no pink remains or meat thermometer reaches proper poultry temperature.

While chicken is baking combine in microwave-safe bowl or ramekin, 2 tbsp. butter or butter substitute, juice of 1/2 lemon, one clove crushed garlic, salt to taste.

Step 4. Slice, sauce and serve

When chicken is done, remove from oven, slice, and top with artichoke mixture, melt butter mix in microwave for about 30 seconds, then top chicken with it.

Serves two.





“Kept me wanting more.”
“A beautiful step back in time.”
“Attention keeper.”

THESE ARE JUST A FEW OF THE 18 STELLAR REVIEWS FOR #kindle #romance REGRET NOT A MOMENT! Read all the reviews, then one-click at

This book is on sale for 99 cents this week.  Usual price is $3.99. To purchase, either click on link above or on book’s cover photo at right.

This is first and foremost a love story, but much more than that, too. One reader review says it best.

“Not only is the story romantic, fast-paced and historical, but it deals with matters of racism, feminism and misogyny” all in the elite, glamorous world of Thoroughbred racing.”

Iris Rainer Dart, author of Beaches (made into a classic movie starring Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey) called Regret not a Moment, “A bewitching book! You will never forget the captivating Devon Richmond…”

Why I Raised My Book’s Price

Have you seen the TV commercial that places items marked “FREE” on a busy street?  The humor is that passersby are suspicious and refuse to avail themselves of the free item.

Each day, I get notices from multiple web sites offering book giveaways. Most free offerings are by indie authors who use the Amazon-promoted strategy to get their books “out there.”  The result is a double-edged sword:  books by famous, traditionally published authors are now commonly offered at reduced prices or for limited-time sales.  I bought Donna Tartt’s best-seller GOLDFINCH for $2.99, and you can find books by Grisham and other million-selling authors for similarly low prices. On the other hand, if famous authors sell their books — at least some of them — so cheaply, what’s a lesser-known author to do?

As I said in my previous post, I stopped doing giveaways because I derived no benefit from them. But how to decide my book’s prices? When they were first published in hard cover by Little, Brown, they were over $20, but I certainly can’t offer my Kindle versions for anything even close — no one can!  So I looked at other books in my genre, which is historical romance/women’s fiction, or something along those lines.

When I first bought my Kindle three years ago, I would dismiss any book below $3.99 as probably not worth reading. Then I discovered a couple of authors I enjoyed in the $2.99-$3.99 range.  Some were indies, some had begun as indies, but were picked up by traditional publishers, and some were traditionally-pubbed paperback originals in e-format.  Now, more and more, I’m seeing aforementioned bestsellers — hard cover originals — offered at sale prices as low as $2.99 in e-format.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I read an article by a traditionally published mid-list author like me. He asserted that we had gone through the process of finding an agent, a professional editor at a traditional publishing house, a copy editor, and a professional formatter.  Although we did not become best-sellers, and our books’ rights reverted to us, we had the advantage of top-tier input.  He felt that giveaways or overly-cheap prices devalued our books. I have to agree that my experience has borne out that theory.  I also noticed something peculiar that seemed to confirm that.

Of the two novels I offer on Kindle, REGRET NOT A MOMENT is $3.99 and NO MORE LONELY NIGHTS is $2.99. They both have mostly 5-star customer ratings.  They were both praised by Library Journal, Kirkus and RT (formerly Romantic Times). And, I hate to admit, they were both panned by Publishers’ Weekly.  The $3.99 book, however, outsells the $2.99 book about 3-to-1.  Maybe it’s because REGRET NOT A MOMENT begins in 1930, an era that Boardwalk Empire, Gatsby and Downton Abbey have made all the rage. Maybe it’s because REGRET is a romance that takes place in the milieu of Thoroughbred racing — always thrilling. There are also strong characters who must overcome racism and sexism in REGRET.

NO MORE LONELY NIGHTS begins in the Mad Men-era and spans 25 years, so is more modern.  Maybe the Mad Men era is less intriguing to readers? My heroine in REGRET is a native Virginian; my LONELY NIGHTS heroine is based on my mother, who was a French expatriate born in Cairo, Egypt.  Most of LONELY NIGHTS, however, takes place in America, and my heroine’s occupation is a planner of glamorous events, a hot line of work just now.  The book is sprinkled with politicians, adulterers, grifters, and some exciting, masculine heart throbs. But my editor at Little, Brown told me Americans prefer American heroines (even though she bought the book). So maybe my heroine’s nationality makes her more difficult to identify with, even though she’s married to an American and lives in New Orleans, then Washington, DC.  Or maybe, just maybe, less credence is given to a book that’s $2.99 versus $3.99.

All I know is this: I went through the multi-year process of finding an agent who sold the books to a prestigious publishing house, worked with the editor for several more months to revise the books, and revised them again after a copy editor proofed them. Then my agent sold them again for translation to German, French, and Spanish, as well as publication in the UK and Canada. Did I become a best-seller? No.  As is the case with most unknown mid-list authors, my publisher did not invest in extensive advertising, point-of-sale displays, or book tours.  The books, however, are professionally put together, high-quality products. I am proud of them.  As I said, the book that is $3.99 sells better than the book that is $2.99.  If any of you have read both, I’d be interested in your insights as to why.  Meanwhile, I worked hard enough on both books, and they have garnered enough great reviews, for me to experiment with a higher price point in the hope that potential readers will believe, as I do, that a slightly higher price MAY indicate a higher quality product.

Both books are now $3.99. One-click below or on photos at right. Also, if you enjoy these posts, please click any of the follow icons at top right-hand corner.



For more thoughts on marketing, check out this link to author Julie Brown’s blog. In it, she includes yet another link to a very comprehensive article with specific book marketing suggestions.