Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Real Neat Blog Award and Giveaway

1. Put the Real Neat Blog Award logo on your blog.
2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you. That would be me. 
3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.
4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.
5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

GIVEAWAY: I’ll send one commenter one of my eBooks—your choice of book and recipient (if you want it to be a gift).

My questions were asked by Shehanne Moore, historical romance author and blogger extraordinaire. Thanks, Shehanne, for including me.

QUESTION 1 Where do most visits to your blog come from? United States, Ukraine, Russia, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Australia, India, Belarus, Canada—in that order. Surprising!

QUESTION 2 What is your favourite sport? Watching. I’m a great watcher. I watch any number of things, such as birds, dogs, horses, figure skating, stars, the sky, and when I have the opportunity, moving water (the sea, lakes, streams, creeks).

QUESTION 3 What is your favourite quote? I have several, but one especially from John Stuart Mill: Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.
There are many from Martin Luther King, Jr. Here's one I'm fond of.

QUESTION 4 What was your favourite class when still at school? English. I’ve always loved reading and it was a natural. I also loved art, but I soon learned I was a small fish in a very large pond.

QUESTION 5 Anything you had wished to have learned earlier? To follow my dreams. I wish I’d persisted early on and not let life dictate what I did, at least not to the extent of putting everything on hold for many years.

QUESTION 6 What musical instrument have you tried to play? There was a brief--very brief--stint with a violin. Now I play CDs. Definitely better for me and everyone in hearing distance.

QUESTION 7 What has been a special moment for you? Finally, finally getting Prime Target published. That one was hard, but I loved it. And listening to my granddaughter singing Vivaldi’s “Laudamus Te” (on left) and the Flower Duet from Delibes’s Lakmé. Seeing my grandson in Beauty and the Beast and as the Gatekeeper in The Wiz.

I’m nominating Leslie Ann Sartor, whose interesting blog is http://anindieadventure.blogspot.com/ She’s the author of an adventure series and the star light, star bright romance novels. Check them out; they’re good stories and a lot of fun.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


Stollen, traditional Christmas bread

Christmas in my family has, or had, many traditional activities. Some have gone by the wayside as the family dwindled and we who remain are too far apart to celebrate the season together.  So far, two of my characters like to cook, Claire in Cold Comfort and Madeleine in Prime Target. I prefer cooking in winter, and both of those books are set mostly in cold weather—maybe that’s why they like it.

Fudge, the old-fashioned kind
The scents wafting from a busy kitchen bring back many memories. Baking, which started in November with fruitcakes and didn’t end until Christmas dinner, required help from everyone, Daddy included. He beat the fudge, stirred stiff doughs, and did more than his share of the taste-testing.

Mother made plates of treats for all the service people who came to our house, from the mailman to the trash collectors. She made a range of candies and cakes and filled paper plates, which we tied up in red
Brioche, a bit lopsided
or green tissue paper with a bow. They filled the dining room table, and my sisters and I loved giving them out. I did it for many years, but now I’m doing well to make a few things for friends.

I did try my hand at Brioche, a very eggy bread that reminds me of Challah. Really not my favorite. I’m thinking Stollen next and hoping it’s more to my liking. If so, I’ll give some away.

One thing I can’t give up is Cheese Grits on Christmas morning. We’ve had it for as long as I can remember. 

Oh, Cheese Grits!
Share some of your traditional dishes. Good food is always appealing.