Colleen Houck

“I took hold of that scourge -filled ship and crushed it between my limbs, hurtling it into the second sun, the red one that gave me strength. But I was too late." Terraformer

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  • Candlelight and Ren **Win a Date Pack Prize**

    February 1, 2015


    The Winners Are:

    Jessica Van Winkle from Colleen’s Home State of Oregon


    Vanda Mocova from Slovakia

    The Perfect Date


    romantic candlelit table

    Imagine yourself dressed in silk fabric that caresses your skin as you walk.  Your fragrant hair perfectly framing your face in thick shiny waves. You have just the right amount of make up to enhance your jewel like eyes, and some killer heels.

     Kelsey's Plum Dress purple-satin-lace-straps-empire-long-prom-dress-pd56625

    Kelsey's Black strappy heels

    Then you see HIM.

    His hair is freshly trimmed and that piece of hair by his ear is reaching for you to put it back in place.  He’s wearing a perfectly tailored suit, his crisp white collar is open,  your eyes linger on the warm skin at his neck and you swear a wave of spicy sandalwood is in the air and it floods your senses.

    black suit         black suit 2

    (What is it about a tailored suit, fresh hair cut, and some warm cologne? Sigh)

    Now what?  What is Kelsey going to say when a candlelit Ren is in front of her and using every last bit of his charm on persuading her to choose him, to choose them?  Ren uses lines like, “Kelsey, when a man spends time with a beautiful woman, he needs to pace himself.”  Then he whispers in her ear that he knows what she is thinking as she contemplates running from the scene and says, “…you can either take a seat and have dinner with me like a normal date,” he grinned at his word choice, “or,” he paused thoughtfully then threatened, “you can sit on my lap while I force-feed you.”

    Slipping into Kelsey’s Shoes

    As a reader I love this scene starting on page 358 of Tiger’s Curse.  There is some delicious “tension” that makes you uncomfortable, intrigued, and starts your mind thinking of how you can get your hands on a plum dress like Kelsey’s and some male taming strappy black heels.  Not to mention, wondering what in world does Sandalwood smell like.

    Scents and sights engrave memories into the soul.  We can’t be on the date with Ren, but there’s no harm in sampling some of Kelsey’s experiences.

    sandalwood candle

    Let’s set the scene with Colleen’s favorite candles which are the Sandalwood Candle and Vanilla Sandalwood from World Market.

    Orange Dinner Rolls

    Orange Dinner Rolls


    Then I want to dive into warm  Dinner Rolls with wisps of steam rising from the basket.  Imagine little fleck of orange zest perfuming the air mixing with the homey scent of freshly baked bread. Heaven!

    macaddamia fish   lamb curry

    saffron rice

    Then come the aromatic entrees.  Macadamia Nut Crusted fish, Roasted Lamb Curry, and Saffron Rice.  

    Exotic Dates at Home

    If you haven’t tried these dishes you must!  If there is a place you are dying to visit then start at home in the kitchen.  The macadamia nuts add a sweet crunch to your favorite fish.  My favorite inexpensive fish is Tilapia and I add coconut to the breading and top with drizzle of a sweet Asian sauce.  My favorite Indian dish  Chicken Tikka Masala  with some  Naan bread.  The juicy chicken and thick creamy sauce with torn and dipped piece of Naan bread (Costco has large yummy packages at my store)  is my idea of a exotic comfort food.

    naan bread      tikka masala

    How to Win the Date Night Prize

    Write us and tell us about your best dream date or what you want for a dream date.  Answer these questions and comment below or Tweet it to @ColleenHouck.

     Where would you go? 

    What would you wear?

    What would you eat?

    Most importantly who would you take?

    Don’t forget some man taming strappy shoes!  Here’s a few that make me want to go shopping.

    pink heels Esther Sun

    purple red shoes

    1st Place Prize

    April 2015 Feb 2015 prize 003

    Full size Body Mist, Lotion, and Shower Gel from Bath & Body Works with the pink sponge in Morocco Orchid & Pink Amber. Plus a full size Shower Gel for your guy, and a Sandalwood candle that smells like Ren from World Market.

    2nd place Prize

    A Sandalwood candle that smells like Ren from World Market



    This entry was posted in Beauty, Tiger's Curse.

    13 Responses to Candlelight and Ren **Win a Date Pack Prize**

    1. Katie says:

      Oh how fun it is to let my imagination run wild! =D alright, well, here goes!…

      If I could go anywhere in the world for the perfect date, it would be Biobay in Vieques, Puerto Rico! All those millions, maybe billions of glowing single celled creatures in the water would make me feel like I’m part of the night sky, since they really look like little brightly glowing stars up close. My date and I could tour the surrounding areas during the day, and then go to the Biobay to watch the sunset, and talk about anything and everything while the sky darkens and as the little creatures begin to glow!

      Hmmm… what would I wear if I could wear anything in the world? The possibilities are absolutely endless! I’d really like to stick with this “one-with-the-night” theme, so I will pick a dark navy blue Marchesa sequined strapless silk Tulle gown from I’d love to be wearing a sapphire and diamond necklace with matching earings! The more dazzling the better! For shoes, I’ll have to be specific on that! It would be… (this will be a moutbful!) Silver Glitter Satin Bow Toe Pump heels! And I can’t forget to wear the rhodalite garnet ring that my mom got for me in place of a school ring! (Maybe it wouldn’t look good with the sapphire, but oh well! It’s too sentimental to take off!)

      Okay, so truthfully if I had to pick between good food and a good outfit, I’d choose good food. And my date would too! Besides, during the daytime I would dress for comfort. I’d only be wearing the dress for the most romantic part! Me walking in heels in the sand… boy I’d love to see that for myself. But that’s beside the point. Since we’d be in Puerto Rico, why not choose something Puerto Rican? Pollo Agridulce for me! That is, sweet and sour chicken, Puerto Rican style. I’d also love some cheese and bread with some sparkling grape juice! (Preferably some really nice wine, assuming this takes place NEXT valentine’s day! Hahaha) Not sure what my date would feel like eating, because he loves food very dearly! But that’s what I would pick for myself!

      Now here’s the dealbreaker. Who would I go with? Truthfully, I don’t know anyone in person that I would want to take. Mainly because I unfortunately can’t get out much as of yet, but that will change when I move to CO. Although, that doesn’t change the fact that I do know someone that I’d love to take with me on this perfect date. His name is Shawn, and we met online back in the summer of 2012, and have been talking with each other ever since. We’ve never met, but we want to, and we want to go on a date together. It may sound wierd or whatknot, but we’ve talked long enough to get a feel of what the other is like, and have also seen each other on skype as well. He really knows how to cheer me up when I’m down, and can always bring a smile to my face every day by sending some very funny and cute pictures of animals, or videos of people doing silly things. It’s like the kind of stuff you’d see on America’s funniest Home videos (If you’re familiar with that show.) He really seems like a total sweetheart to me. He’s never said anything mean or disrespectful, not even in a joking manor. He never belittles or criticizes anything I say, or my points of view on a particular subject. He is also a very good listener when there’s something on my mind! He is also very handsome! At first I thought about going somewhere (in the date scenario) in China, because he was actually born there! But he has been there before even though I have not. And besides… that Biobay.. is just way too cool to pass up! So yeap. That is my perfect dream date! 🙂 (As a side note, we may be going on an actual date sometime in spring or summer, because he is also thinking of moving to CO! So he’d visit first just to see what everything is like.)

    2. Mykala Davis says:

      Well first I would go to a nice secluded area in a park and if that wasn’t possible I would go to the mountains. Then I would wear jeans that cling to me in all the right places with a top that has a low neck line and is tight against but not to tight that I can’t breathe or eat. I would make a picnic with fruits and vegetables and some of my other favorite foods that will leave my guy wanting more. If I could I’d take Ren, but that can’t happen since he exists in a book so instead I’d take the love of my life with me. The one he means everything to be and being separated from him kills me. He is the one that gives my life meaning.

    3. Courtney Meier says:

      I would go to a beautiful snowy park, with the moon glinting golden lines on the snow. The guy would be bathed in a beautiful golden light as he walks towards me. A small smile on his lips, because I look absolutely dreamy, in my creme’ silk dress. With a low neckline and a silvery necklace emphasizing the arch of my neck. The dress would have tank top straps and I would be wearing black high heels. That emphasize the arch of my heel as well as make me look taller than my 5 foot frame.

      We would be eating delicious creme treats as well as triangle shaped small sandwiches. Laughing because the food clashes with the snowy, beautiful silent night. He would laugh because I had creme on my nose and he would lean closer. My breath catching as he stares deep into my eyes and wipes it with his finger. Smiling softly at me and pulling away. Leaving a warm blush on my face. I would be taking the one I love the most. The one that makes my heart beat faster, and makes me feel lightheaded in a beautiful way. That one that makes me smile all the brighter and longer than ever before. The one that makes me laugh so hard I have to clutch his shoulder or risk falling over. The one that I want to cuddle up to. The one I want to hug for long moments. The one that fills my heart with joy.

    4. Jacqueline Sheppard says:

      Where would you go?
      -I would go to the breathtakingly beautiful city of venice,italy at night time, and go to a streetside fine dining restaurant. Also walk along the street to look at street vendors and then to end the evening, go on a moonlit gondola ride while listening to the gondola driver sing “That’s Amore” by Dean Martin.
      What would you wear?
      -A maroon red dress with a satin undergarment and a black lace overlay with little diamonds on it. It would be strapless with a sweetheart neck line and be corset like from the waist up, then flow down to the floor. Simple diamond stud earrings and a small silver heart necklace. Classic black heels. Curled hair.

      What would you eat?
      -Well considering I am a vegetarian, we would share a delicious plate of meatless spaghetti and on the side a grilled vegetable salad with balsamic dressing and some cheesy breadsticks. Also a nice glass of red wine to sip on. For dessert, a sweet and mouth watering Sicilian dessert know as a cannoli.

      Most importantly who would you take?
      -As my date, I would obviously take ren! However on a realistic note, I would take my best friend Grant as he is the only guy I would want to share such a romantic and lovely date with!

    5. bn100 says:

      Where would you go? Would go on a helicopter tour of the Hawaiian islands at sunset

      What would you wear?Would wear a floral, designer cocktail party dress with 5 inch platforms

      What would you eat? Would eat a 4 course meal from a 5 star hotel that had seafood and chocolate cake on a secluded beach

      Most importantly who would you take? partner

    6. Abby says:

      This was also one of my many favorite parts! It was just so romantic and Ren was being such a flirt (I kept squealing all throughout it!).

      1. We would definitely go to a fancy restaurant in Rome, Italy. I spent a month there last summer and it was just so beautiful and romantic. We would go to St. Peter’s Square, walk along the St. Angelo bridge at night when it’s all lit up with beautiful lights. Ahh, romance.
      2. A long purple silk dress with a bit of a corset, black lace around the top, and loose mid-length sleeves, like a medieval dress. For the shoes, short black heels with straps. A simple purple necklace and matching bracelet, light makeup but dark around the eyes, and I would have straight hair but take two strands from the front on both sides to braid and pin together at the back.
      3. For a meal there would be lots of fresh fruits (specifically peach and nectarine slices, grapes, and different types of cherries) and salad with balsamic vinegar dressing. The main course would be a perfectly cooked steak with amazing seasonings. For the dessert we would have chocolate covered strawberries, creme brulee, and gelato.
      4. Of course I can’t do all that and not have an amazing date! (All this imagining the perfect date and I haven’t even been on one, not even a mediocre one.) Well the only person I would want to go with would be Ren. I mean, a perfect date needs a perfect guy, right?

    7. Celine says:

      Oh, my goodness…a dream date. I would love to go somewhere that had an indoor garden, complete with little streams, waterfalls, fountains, stone pathways, and many luscious, beautiful flowers, lit by candlelight in the evening with a glass ceiling so we could see the sunset and then the stars.

      I would wear a forest green dress, modest, with a loose skirt that was longer in the back (a few inches off of the ground) and draped to a point just under my knee, maybe with short brown leggings that would be hidden underneath the skirt so that I’m more comfortable. I’d wear dark brown strappy sandal heels that wrapped halfway to my knee, though the heels would be thick so I could walk easily and not get sore feet walking through the garden. I’d probably leave my brown hair loose with the sides gracefully pinned up, and curled into soft waves.

      What to eat…there are so many foods out there that I like, and so many I haven’t tried yet. There would definitely be soft, warm bread (wheat and multi-grain!) and a fancy salad (definitely with black olives and little or no cheese, with a light dressing or vinaigrette), along with lots of fruit, especially grapes, all types of berries, apples, and pineapple, as well as a small mix of peanuts, almonds, and cashews. To drink there’d be some exotically flavored tea, water with lemons, and lemonade. For the main course, it would probably be small portions of a bunch of different Japanese dishes, especially fish, shrimp and sushi (though I’m really anxious to try Indian cuisine as well; I’ve never had it before). And for dessert, ice cream with hot fudge, light whipped cream, and more berries!

      Honestly…I don’t know who I’d take. I haven’t met the right guy yet to go on a date with at all, much less a super-fancy one like this dream one (which would probably not be our first date, anyways). I know he’s out there somewhere, though. So right now, I’ll leave the guy walking through the twilit indoor garden with me, trying to eat rice with chopsticks with me, sitting on a bench quietly listening to the soft, soothing sounds of the fountains with me…I’ll leave him slightly blurred. I believe one day, though, he’ll solidify into someone very real.

    8. John Rodriguez says:

      (Let it be known that I’m doing this strictly for the love of my life. She got me into these wondrous books, and kind of lost control of me, to the point where the only thing that would stop me from reading would be… well… her. Anyways… I thoroughly enjoy these books, and I want to thank her for everything she’s done for me. Here goes nothing!)

      Most importantly who?
       The lady of my choosing would be my beloved, heart-stopping, drop-dead gorgeous, angel, who’s name is Kim. Unfortunately, I’d recently moved, and the only thing that I have done since that move, was think about her… We’re about 1,600 miles apart, and, given my current situation, I can’t see her.

      Where would you go?
      The place itself has never really been a large detail for us; as long as we’re together, anywhere would be perfect. However, I want her to know that I’ve always been listening to when she would tell me about her dreams… so the one place, that I know she’s been dreaming of going to for a long time, is Paris, France. I would take her out on her birthday (conveniently very close to Valentine’s Day), to watch a movie in the afternoon. Afterwards, I would take her out to see the sights of this wonderful place. The Eifell Tower, would be the last of our sights. Finally, for the rest of our date, I would take her out dancing.

      What would you eat?
      For Kim, I’d make her anything that she desires, but knowing what her favorite food is, I’d just say that for the sake of entertainment. The first detail about her that I learned was that Kim loves cheeseburgers… and, though she’d be horrified to let me cook alone, I don’t want her to lift a finger, since she’s my princess. So… specifically, a cheeseburger, and FRENCH fries.

      What would you wear?
      Now… what would I wear? For the busy schedule, it wouldn’t be a great idea to walk around in a full suit. For that matter, a suit would be vastly inappropriate for such a date. At least, everything but the final portion of the date would beg for something that’s comfortable, and casual. I would wear jeans and sneakers, alongside a doctor who shirt, which Kim had bought be for Christmas. However, the moment calls for the final part of the night, being dancing. Me… I’m absolutely horrified of dancing. It’s been something that I refuse to do out of fear of embarrassment. I will still do it, though, as long as my iadala is there. Preparations for making a fool out of myself: Look decent, so, even if someone looks at your hideous dancing, they might think to compliment you before making fun of you. (CHECK!) I would wear black dress pants, with matching dress shoes and a white dress shirt; on top of it, being a black suit jacket to top it all off.

      For everything, I must say that before Kim, I had nothing going on for me. I had no aspirations in life, and that meeting her was something that made me do a pretty big U-turn, and hop back on track. And after that, to move so suddenly, it breaks my heart in so many places. I miss her so much… and writing this is pretty painful for me, but at the same time, feels like a release in many ways, too. If she’s reading this, all I have to say to her is mujhe tumse pyarhai, iadala.

    9. Abby says:

      Ahh, romance. The true delight of humanity.
      I would love to just go to an open space with no lights around and just be under the stars and marvel at the Milky Way.
      I would wear a v-neck, lacy, loose, white long sleeved shirt with dark, but slightly faded skinny jeans with sequins on the pockets. The shoes would be white wedges with red polka dots. My hair would be long and straight, and I would actually be wearing nice makeup for once.
      The food would probably be casual. Triple decker sandwiches, bring it on! Bacon, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, etc, etc. Drinks would be cranberry juice mixed with Sprite, which is actually quite delicious.
      I would take the guy who I’ve been secretly in love with for two years. He makes me happier than any other person I know. I’ve started thinking that he likes me back, which just gives me crazy butterflies. I would love to just sit under the open sky and stargaze with him. We would hold hands, and I would lean my head on his shoulder, and seeing as he is a huge nerd, we’d probably talk about all the constellations. I’d probably be bright red, but he would smell amazing, and his smile would be directed towards me. His eyes would sparkle, and we’d lay on out backs as we talked till the night was over.
      I’m getting carried away with myself. Whoops.

    10. Jessica says:

      Since my perfect date would be with my geeky husband, I’m going to make the perfect geek date!

      Where would you go? San Diego Comic Con, and then fly over to the Hilton in Las Vegas to eat at the Star Trek restaurant.

      What would you wear? My very best cos play of Slave Leia, and my husband would wear his best Doctor Who outfit of the Doctor.

      What would you eat? Since we’ll be eating at the Star Trek restaurant, we would have a meal themed to The Next Generation’s crew and their favorites (though not Gagh from Worf, that’s crossing the line for me)

      Most importantly who would you take? My husband Joe, the geekiest guy I know (and the best looking). 🙂

    11. Vanda Môcová says:

      I look into the mirror. I am wearing a red saree with gold flowers painted on it. Gold eyeliner makes my brown eyes look bigger. I am preparing to my first date and I am so nervous.
      The doorbell rings. HE is here. It is too late to say I am sick, isn´t it? I am dead. I take a deep breath and I run downstairs. My mum is waiting for me, with camera and she takes a few photo about me.
      “You will be always my little girl.” She hugs me and opens the door.
      “She is going to be home today.” She looks severely at Sam.
      “Of course.” He says with a wide smile. Mum nods and goes back to kitchen.
      “The red saree is for wedding, isn´t it? Is there something I should know?”
      “I just like red. Is there a problem with that?”
      “No, you look pretty good in it.” He nods, like he agrees with that and point on a black Jaguar. “Can we go, my princess?”
      “Naturally. But tell me, where are we actually going?” He opened the car door for me and I sit down on the passenger’s seat.
      “It is a surprise.”
      The car start moveing and I start to relax. I am watching Sam as he ride the car down street. He wears a grass green shirt and black pants. His dark brown hair is dishevelling like always. His caramel eyes are studying me. He is smiling: “Are you ok with how I look like?”
      My cheeks turn pink: “Yeah, you look handsome but you should watch the road.”
      He starts laugh. “We stopped about two minutes ago.”
      I look out of the window and see his house.
      He opened the door and submitted his hand. I take it.
      In the house I just look at him.
      “Can you go to the living room for a moment, please? I just need to prepare something.”
      I nod and sit down on the sofa. It is not like I am in house with an unknown guy. Sam has been my friend about three years now and classmate about five. I know him well but I am still nervous. What the hell is he doing?
      He comes back with a wide smile. “My dearest lady, can I show you, where we will eat?”
      I take his hand a together we go to the kitchen. I lost my breath. It was beautiful. There is a roundtable with two chairs. In the middle of it stands a candle and a vase with one red rose. On the table are two pizzas.
      He holds my chair while I sit. Then he sits down against me.
      “I am sorry about the food. I know pizza isn´t the most romantic food. But you like it.”
      “Don´t mind about that it is all right. I love pizza.” I smile at him softly.
      He smiles at me back “Ok. Bon appetite.”
      We start eat. After few minutes we start talking about everything. (I won´t write it here because it would be boring)
      After dessert (chocolate ice cream) I look at the clock. It is 11:23 p.m. My mother will kill me!
      We quick go to the car and drive to my home.
      Now we are standing in front of my house.
      “I hope you enjoyed this just like I.” He kiss me softly on my cheek.
      He gives me that red rose from the table. He smiles at me sweetly and go to his car.
      “Bay.” I say quietly and go indoor.
      I look at my mother “What it is still today.”
      “Ok.” She say and go up to her bedroom.
      Later I am lying on my bed and watching the rose on my bedside. I will never forget this night. I am sure.

    12. Tiffany says:

      Where would you go?
      I would go as far away from the city as I can. I’d drive and drive until the dazzling, lively lights of the city faded from the rear-view mirror. My destination is anywhere that I can see the stars in their full, awe-inspiring beauty. Some remote place like Canada or Alaska. Not only do I yearn to see the stars properly, but I also want to go someplace where I can experience the Northern Lights…or maybe a meteor shower if I’m lucky. Oh, and also somewhere where we could have a small bonfire to keep us warm!

      What would you wear?
      Part of me wants to say a cute, flow-y sundress…but in reality I probably wouldn’t wear a dress to go star gazing…especially not in Canada or Alaska! 🙂 I’d wear my favorite pair of dark denim jeans, paired with a black and white checkered 3/4 length shirt. I would wear my warm black coat, my red leather gloves and a fluffy hat. (For shoes I guess I’d just go with sneakers or maybe black boots!)

      What would you eat?

      We would have a picnic of sorts. While we sit down in a nest of blankets, we would enjoy hot chocolate (and coffee for him) and…hmm…probably Chinese food 🙂 Homemade oatmeal raisin cookies would be eaten for dessert.

      Most importantly who would you take?

      I would definitely go with my sweet, goofy (but romantic and charming) boyfriend! (Or beau, I suppose? We are actually courting…not dating, so beau would be the correct term.. but it sounds so weird!)

      He would be the obvious choice!

      After watching the stars/Northern Lights and munching on cookies, I think we would dance under the brightly lit night time sky. That would be the perfect ending to the perfect date!


    13. Harriet Knapp says:

      Ok, so I would go to a masquerade ball because I imagine it would be very romantic and fun. I would wear a sea foam green high, low gown with ivory pumps and silver jewelry. I am currently not dating anyone but I would take either a fictional character or an actor I had a crush, namely Alex Pettifer or James Carstair. We would have a candle light dinner before the ball. At the stroke of midnight we would share a kiss under the stars.

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    Author Bio
    Shara Lane
    Shara Lane

    I'm Shara, a wife, mother, bargain shopper, and I love to critique everything from food to mascara. I'm a sister of Colleen who lives in the desert of Arizona. My favorite time of day is when I pretend my kids are asleep upstairs, and I can catch up on my favorite shows with my handsome husband. Once Upon a Time, Dr. Who, Mythbusters (husband's choice), Big Bang Theory, Sherlock, and Castle. I turned 40 but feel around 30ish, and wonder where the time has gone. I love new clothes, new make-up, new food, and anything new to try out and critique. It's not mean, I promise, I just really like to figure out how to make things better :-)