Sunday, January 30, 2011

Six Sentences from Rock Bound

This is from the second chapter. Annie Peterson has been arrested and taken to the National Guard Armory in Washington, DC for processing. Rock Bound will be re-released in both e-book and paperback in February through Create Space.

“Put everything in these boxes,” a tough-looking female Marine Sergeant told the women. “All yer jewelry, too.” The [first] woman emptied her pockets into the box and began to walk through the metal detector. “Yer still wearin’ jewelry.”

“These are my wedding rings; I never take them off.”
The Sergeant grabbed the woman’s hand, pulled out a vibro-blade, and sliced off the woman’s finger.

Annie quickly removed her rings and kissed them when her wrists were freed. Paul, wherever you are, I will always love you, she thought. Please forgive me. Annie tossed her rings into the box.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

National Chocolate Cake Day

My friend and fellow author, Roseanne Dowell, blogged today about National Chocolate Cake Day. This is a holiday that I really cannot quite celebrate. Even though there are gluten free flours out there and even Betty Crocker has a gluten free cake mix, I have not yet found an acceptable sugar substitute. I can, however, bake a chocolate cake for someone else, which my daughter Elizabeth and I did last night. (To quote Maxwell Smart, we “missed it by that much!”) We’re frosting it tonight since the white sauce has to cool and we didn’t make that early enough. My sister Carol will be seventy-five a week from today. We plan to freeze the cake and take it to her next Wednesday when we take her out to dinner to celebrate her birthday. I’ll add the photo when we frost the cake tonight.

(Note: Sorry, I don't have Centigrade or metric measurements.)

Never-Fail Devil’s Food Cake

½ lb. Butter

1 cup Sugar

2 Eggs

3 Tbsp. Cocoa

1 tsp. Vanilla

2 Cups Flour (sifted twice)

¾ Cup Sour Milk (you can sour milk by adding a bit of vinegar)

2 tsp. Baking Soda

1 Cup Boiling Water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Add cocoa, eggs and vanilla, beating well. Alternate adding milk and flour. Mix baking soda in water and add. Mix well. Bake 30-35 minutes in greased and floured pan/s (8" round or 13"X9" rectangular). Test center before removing from oven.

White Sauce Frosting

White Sauce

2 Tablespoons Flour

½ Cup Milk

Make white sauce ahead of time. Mix flour and milk. Boil until stiff. Let cool.

Frosting Base

¼ lb. Butter

1 Cup Sugar

1 tsp. Vanilla

Cream butter and sugar, add vanilla and cooled white sauce. Beat until fluffy.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Six Sentence Sundays

Rock Bound is available now in PDF format at my website listed above, but soon it will be re-released in paperback as well as multiple e-book formats. More information as it becomes available.

Cyrstal dropped her sign and yelled, “The bastards are firing on us!” Paul’s head lolled forward, the charred hole still smoking, and Annie fell to the ground trying to cradle it. Annie sobbed, crying “No! No! No!” Crystal’s arms were around her, as she sat on the ground, clutching her dead husband. People were trying to run but there was nowhere to go. Annie felt Jake fall atop her and Crystal. Oh, my God! He’s dead, too!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

More to Fear Than Homelessness

It seems everyone is blogging about the tragedy in Arizona this week. I frankly don’t know what to say. For once I am speechless. My deepest condolences go out to the families of the dead and prayers and healing energy go to those who were wounded.

I saw the Teabaggers bringing back the fear-mongering of the McCarthy era when I tried to attend a political debate between my Democrat Congresswoman and her Teabagger opponent. He orchestrated a recital of the Pledge of Allegiance with his supporters screaming out the phrase “under God” which was not originally part of the Pledge. It was added during the McCarthy era.

I have been selfishly afraid of what this Congress would do. You see, my bi-polar disorder was not diagnosed until the Clinton administration. It cost me my husband and children and during the first Bush administration, I was a jobless, sofa-surfing, homeless veteran. The week Bush gave a speech saying there was no recession, there were seven hundred people lined up for one hundred jobs at the new Sheraton Hotel opening in Chicago in a -30 wind chill right by the Lake. I went to pick up copies of my resume to join that line and stopped off to say hi to a friend who worked in the same building. She told me about a client of hers who needed an assistant. Her client, Dr. Gail C. Christopher became the best boss I ever had, and my jobless, homeless days were over. Gail turned me into a social and political activist.

But the Republicans weren’t done with me. I became disabled because of my bi-polar disorder and other problems and ended up getting my health care from the VA and Medicare—neither of which provide dental care. (None of my disabilities are related to my military service.) So, during the second Bush administration, I found myself pulling my own teeth. And sure enough, last week, I started signing petitions begging Congress not to repeal the Health Care bill. I’m also afraid they'll privatize Social Security and Medicare, and cut non-serivce-connected veterans out of the VA system as well, leaving me with no income and no health care at all. My kids are now old enough to take me in, but I wouldn't want to be around my grandkids without my meds.

I had no idea I would need to move into a bunker in order to be safe from the Teabaggers. I never thought it would be safer to make a phone call on a public phone at two a.m. in gang territory than to attend a meet and greet with a Congresswoman, who simply wants to represent her constituents instead of Big Business.

If you haven’t watched Keith Olbermann’s special comment on this weekend’s events, here’s the link. He’s much more eloquent than I am.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Book Review -- Santa is a Lady by L. J. Holmes

Acey likes to sit in my desk drawer and supervise.

Having read Santa is a Lady in one sitting, I found the story touching and funny. The heroine, Angie Brightwell, has survived a car crash that should have killed her. She has defied her doctors’ prognoses and fought to walk again. Legally blind from the crash, she has even found a car with a complicated navigation system that allows her to get around without a driver. Feisty and independent definitely describe Angie. But, she has practically become a recluse to avoid pity. So it takes a lot for her friend, Beck Cavington, to talk her into playing Santa when the professional Santa she hired is arrested four days before Christmas.

Cameron Drayton has gone through the wringer trying to retrieve his half-Iraqi daughter after her vengeful uncles had their own sister murdered for the sin of not only loving and eloping with him, but of bearing a girl. One would think allowing the infidel to take her back to his country would solve their problem, but in their rage against Cam, they kidnapped Johara, produced a fake birth certificate, and left her in an orphanage. It took two years and thousands of dollars in ransom to find out where she was, more money to prove he was her father to both the U.S. and Iraqi governments, get custody and bring her home. Needless to say, he wants her first Christmas to be perfect and a lady Santa isn’t part of that plan.

One of my cats, Acey Deucy, supervised me while I read the story. He was quite taken with the antics of Mama Bear, Angie’s cat. (Not that way; he’s been neutered, fer gossake!) He was very angry at me when I laughed so hard at her I dislodged him. He stalked off with his tail in the air, flicking it in disdain. At me, not the book. I’m sure he liked it as much as I did. I know he’d like to see more of Mama Bear. (No, really— he’s neutered!)

My heart went out to Angie and Cam as they struggled to heal the wounds that don’t show—the ones that hurt the worst. I highly recommend this book. Have tissues ready, and be sure you’re in a chair you can’t roll out of when you’re laughing. Oh, and if you still text while you drive, read this book; and then think again.

Santa is a Lady is available now at MuseItUp Publishing. This is the first of several books L. J. Holmes has coming out over the next year and the first of the Christmas Miracles series. I, for one, can’t wait for her next book, Forever with You, due out February 1, 2011 from MuseItHOT, just in time for Valentine’s Day.