Fruitcake? Not me!

Oh no, the dreaded fruitcake!

Every Christmas table has been blessed with a fruitcake. Every family has the sory of the fruitcake that is re-gifted for years. A form of immortality I think.

You have to understand about fruitcake. It is a mix of candied fruit, nuts, raisins, and a very thick cake batter that is baked then soaked in brandy. Or rum. Or sherry. For weeks. Or months. Or a year if no-one wants to eat the heavy thing.

This year I baked a ten pound fruitcake. Honest. That was the name of the recipe. And it felt like ten pound after I finished.

I wrapped it in sherry soaked cheesecloth, wrapped it with foil and put it in a cool place to flavor. Every week for three weeks, I re-soaked the cheesecloth and therefore the cake. It smelled delicious.

The day before my family gathered for Christmas dinner I decorated the top with green and red cherries. It looked so festive!

My Fruitcake

Understand, my sons are willing to try anything I put on the table. I expected the fruitcake to be a big hit; instead it was, ah, something else.

Everyone protested being too full to try a piece.

Hard to keep up the denial as they scoffed up the cheesecake, the apple pie, the mince pie, and the oatmeal-raisin cookies.

A good-hearted daughter-in-law cut two slices and quartered them on a plate. The plate circled the table of twenty guests and returned with one piece gone. I think my grandson fed it to the dog.

I wasn’t disappointed. Not much.

The funny thing is that as the evening progressed and we drank coffee and chatted, the fruitcake quarters disappeared along with several more slices.

When we shared out the left-overs so I wouldn’t eat them all, several more slices went out the door.

Will I be making fruitcake next year? Maybe. It might be more fun to make a Boche de Noel (Christmas Log). I’ll see.

Hope your Holiday, be it Christmas, Hannukah or something else, be joyous.

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Finding the Perfect Christmas Tree

Putting up a Christmas tree can be a big production. Although many people are going with the artificial, lighted tree, I still love picking out a tree.

I’m fortunate because I don’t have to go to a corner tree lot for a tree that was cut a month ago, shipped in a truck and stood against a wire fence.

I go to the Christmas tree farm and prowl the acres of trees for the one right for my living room.

Wander acres of Christmas trees

It has to be this tall and that wide with lots of branches for all the ornaments we collected over the years. Although any seven foot tree will do, the fun is in wandering around for hours debating which one has the exactly perfect shape.

What should it be this year?

A Fraser Fir? These grow so tall and full they are called the Cadillac of trees. The branches have flat needles that are silver-blue on the underside. They can hold the heaviest of ornaments with grace.

How about a Blue Spruce? This old-fashioned Christmas tree has short hard needles that can be awkward to hang ornaments on. I think it’s a challenge to have the kids work on this one. They complain it bites. It can be bluish or green in color.

A Balsam? This tree tends to be the one at stands. It can be a good choice, but the bottom must be recut and kept watered.

White Spruce have short hard needles, with branches not good for heavy ornaments.

A Concolor Fir?  I consider this my favorite tree. The thick branches are filled with long blue- green needles and can be crowded with decorations. It has a wonderful citrusy scent that fills the house. It will last for months.

Any tree needs to be kept watered. If the place is on the cool side that helps keep it fresh.

And if you’re into recycling, place the tree in the center of your yard after the holidays for the birds. How about hanging suet and birds seed packets on the branches?

Add months to the pleasure of Christmas.

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Ready for Christmas?

Christmas is a special time of year for me. Putting up the lights, arranging the lawn decorations, dragging the boxes from storage, wrapping gifts

Making Christmas wreaths

and making wreaths to hang on the door fill my life with joy.

I love decorating the Christmas tree. When I was a child, blown glass reindeer and lights that bubbled hung from the branches. Silver tinsel twisted and spun in the slightest breeze. If a light went out, my father unscrewed the bulb and replaced it. Half the decorations were hand-made. All my school efforts dangled in the front.

So when I married and my Mom gave me an ornament with the date I was thrilled. I hang that tiny elf swinging on a star near the top of my tree every year. It was joined by an elf with my daughter’s name.

My Mom started a lovely tradition. She gave each of the children an ornament with their name and the year. I kept it going after she died.

So as the children grew, a soccer player dangled here, a wrestler there, several girls dressed as ballerinas stepped high. A typewriter joined them, then a book. A black dog with a bone commemorated Farful our old dog. The paper chain decorated with Christmas stickers from my daughter’s third grade loops between branches. Over the years, the tree became so crowded the branches bent toward the floor.

So when my children married, it wasn’t too difficult to hand off a box of ornaments with their name and the past years to the couple.  Time rushes by. Every Christmas I see those old ornaments with a sad sigh, until one of my grandchildren points with an excited grin.

Do you remember?

“Do you remember that one, Nana?”


The real reason for Thanksgiving

Everyone is writing about Thanksgiving, but what do we really know?

The Indians and the Pilgrims sharing a great feast to celebrate the harvest is the popular tale. There is evidence of a different story, a love story to be exact.

Several years before I wrote my first book, I visited Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts. It’s a pretty place on the Connecticut-Massachusetts line.  They have an excellent collection of historical items.

In the museum was a display of letters written by the children and grandchildren of the original settlers. The Pilgrims didn’t leave many personal writing, probably since they had no spare time or energy for simple pleasures. Or maybe their letters were sent back to Europe.

I spent several hours reading the missives. They described incredible hardship and fortitude by a people who didn’t understand how terrible the conditions would be. Since the spelling, language and writing were all in a manner suited to that age, they were difficult to understand.

Then I found it. The truth about Thanksgiving and what they were celebrating.

Do you remember the story of Squanto teaching the Pilgrims to plant corn? Popular writing says he did it out of the goodness of his heart. Guess what? The truth is Squanto was a lovelorn suitor for the hand of a widowed Pilgrim lady.

Indian culture demanded he show his future in-laws that he could feed the family. Squanto was under the mistaken belief the Pilgrims were one family. Remember they called each other brother and sister?

So what did he do? He taught them how to provide for themselves.

The letters say he married his fair lady. Other letters mention several marriages. Many died that first winter and those left were starving. In those harsh, desperate times I bet those women thought themselves blessed.

The biggest quandary was what to call their children. Were they Indians? Or Pilgrims?  The solution seemed to be to call them what they desired.

As a love story, it can’t be beat.

Happy Thanksgiving.

And those letters were on loan and no longer on display.

KC Klein interview and give-away

Help welcome my guest, KC Klein, author of Dark Future.

Barbra, thank you so much for having me here. I really appreciate the opportunity to connect with readers and tell them a little about my debut novel, DARK FUTURE. I would love to give away a copy of my e-book to one commenter. So readers, please leave a comment with your email address so I can send you a copy.

 What do you find the most difficult about being a writer?

It is definitely balancing the life of writing with working outside the home and taking care of a family. Case in point, today I picked up my kids from school with no bra and fluffy pink slippers. At least I don’t have to do the walk of shame before the other moms.
I just slow down long enough so the kids can hop in.

 What is your hero’s biggest challenge?

 ConRad can come across as cold and uncaring—he has the weight of human salvation on his shoulders. So who could blame him if he comes across a tad abrupt, but it still creates great tension between him and the heroine.

 What is your heroine’s biggest flaw?

She is a self-proclaimed coward. She’s lived a life of self-indulgence and never really had to step up and do something for the greater good. It’s my favorite of moment DARK FUTURE when she starts to live for others and not just herself.

What prompted you to write this story?

My first baby was colicky. There was a block of time I couldn’t fathom a full night’s sleep or that I would ever read a book again. I desperately needed an escape, so I created a world that was darker, grittier, and had worse things happening than clothes that smelled of
spit up and a non-existent sex life.

 What is your least favorite genre? Would you ever consider writing it?

 I guess I would have to say mysteries. They’ve never floated my boat. I think in order to write mysteries you have to be a pretty smart cookie to keep the reader guessing until the end. There’s just no way I could pull that one off.

 Who has helped you the most?

 Hands down my husband. He has allowed me to have a full, 360 degree life. He picks up the slack so I can have all the things I love in my life and have writing too.

 Do you have a favorite theme? Eg: love conquers all; good vs evil; How do you
use it?

Themes are funny things. I think it takes a few books before a writer figures out what themes they are drawn to—at least it took me that long. I think my theme is how much are you willing to sacrifice for love? I’ve always loved that question and self-sacrifice seems to pop up in my books quite often.

 What have you learned about yourself from your writing?

 That I want it. That I want to write more than I have ever wanted anything before. That I’ll give up and take on a lot in order to tell stories. That this isn’t just a passing fancy, this
is a part of who I am.

Why will your reader think your book is different?

I hope readers will think DARK FUTURE is different, but also hope they will love it. My book is darker than a lot of books out there. By dark I don’t necessarily mean in content, though there is mature subject matter. My characters are dark. My hero and heroine are
not optimistic people. These are people who have gone through hell and expect
only the worse to ever happen to them and to those they love. The fact that
these two people get a chance at a happily-ever-after is the best part of
writing DARK FUTURE. I believe what this book says is that if these two people
can claw themselves to happiness, than anyone can. J

I love to connect with readers so please find me on Twitter @kckleinbooks and on Facebook at
and also my website

Also one more thing, DARK FUTURE is going on sale in print as of Nov 8th. So if you don’t like the e-version now you can order the print version.

Thanks again for having me!

And thanks for being here. Because of the power outages, I’d like to leave your interview open for a couple days for readers to comment and enter your give-away.

Book Blurb

Awakened in the middle of the night by a future version of herself, Kris Davenport is given a mission: go forward in time to save the world—and His life. Of course, her future self
doesn’t tell her who he is, just sends her into an abyss and straight into an alien invasion.

He turns out to be ConRad Smith, the callous, untrusting Commander of Earth’s army and the world’s last defense. There’s only one way to know for sure if this strange woman is an
alien spy—slice her throat. Except, he didn’t anticipate the heat he would feel
as he interrogates the hot-tempered, warm-blooded woman. For a man whose sole
focus has been survival, she’s more temptation than he can handle. But a world
on the brink of destruction leaves no room for love…and time is running out.


“Mmm, you taste human. Like salt or more like … warm sunshine?” He pinned me with his gaze. His eyes spoke a primal language. Desire warred with anger; need against punishment.

I looked away. Embarrassed. Violated. His body crushed mine, suffocating in its
nearness. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t even breathe without crushing my breasts
against him. I always considered myself strong and physically fit, but he
subdued me with barely any effort. Heart racing, I panicked.

The feeling of no control would break me—complete powerlessness always did. I used whatever weapon was available; whatever maneuvers would give me a fighting
chance. This was no different. I turned my head, opened my mouth against his
neck, and … sunk my teeth in.

He cursed. Grabbed hold of my shirt, picked me up, and slammed me back against the wall.

A painful whoosh came from my lungs. My vision rocked—brain swished inside my

“You bit me.” He sounded shocked.

My head hurt so bad I had to blink hard to keep my eyes in their sockets. “You
licked me,” I shouted back.

He assessed me, aqua blue eyes hooded with thick, long eyelashes, for what seemed
like an eternity. “I will ask you one more time. Who are you?”

“I’ve told you everything.” My voice sounded desperate, tired, even to me. “I went
running and fell into the dark … I’m a doctor at a hospital. If you don’t
believe me, just call them. I’ve worked there for years.”

He stood still, his body hard against mine, creating an insurmountable barrier.
His face so close I could see his pupils enlarge, almost hiding the hard blue
of his irises. The rage in him lived and breathed. One hand ran along my scalp
in a mock caress, grabbed hold of my hair and pulled.

“Liar,” his voice barely a whisper, the knife was back … shaking at my very exposed,
very vulnerable artery. “There hasn’t been a hospital anywhere on Earth since
the year 2075.” And in one efficient movement, he drew the knife across my

Twitter: @KCKleinbooks



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Building a Book Bible by Barbara Edwards

Ancient Awakening started as a romance and a stand-alone book. It quickly changed, became complicated and detailed. The different characters blurred after several chapters and I realized I needed a better way to keep track of eye color, hair style, physical
description and other pesky details. I’ve used character sheets, interview
sheets, lists and found they didn’t meet my needs.

Then another author mentioned using a ‘bible’ and the light bulb flashed over my head. What could be easier than a method I could do on the fly?

After creating a new document I quickly skimmed what I had already written. To make it easy to find, I used bold for the character name. It was easy to copy/paste sections of description any time I mentioned him/her.

Let me amend that. I copy the information when I go back to do a simple edit. I never stop the writing process for editing. It breaks the flow and I don’t recommend using anything
that does that.

I also found it helpful to have a timeline of events. Mine is at the front of the ‘bible,’ but you can put it anywhere.

Once I decided Ancient Awakening was the first of a series set in Rhodes End, I added the town as a character. I’m also drawing a map using my characters actions. You’d be surprised to know how hard it is to recall if you turn right or left out of the driveway to get
to the cemetery.

Rhodes End Series: Book TwoSince I’ve worked on Ancient Blood, Book Two and Ancient Curse, Book Three, the information is invaluable. I have opened ‘bible’ two and three,
copied the appropriate character descriptions as needed, and keep on writing.

I’ve found it helpful to add research details. So many times I’ve wasted time hunting for that important detail because I couldn’t recall the spelling, the year, whatever.

The ‘bible’ is meant to be a flexible tool. I recommend it.

Blurb for Ancient Blood: Lily Alban escapes a murderous stalker, but his vicious attack leaves her with the ability to see auras. She finds safety in
the tiny hamlet of Rhodes End where a stranger stands out like a red light. Try
as she might to deny her growing desire for Cole, she seeks his help but soon
discovers the man she loves is not a man at all.

Werewolf Cole Benedict resists his attraction to Lily. A botanist researching the healing herbs to find a cure for Lycanthropy, he’s determined to protect Lily from her stalker as well as himself even in human form, but instinct takes over when he changes to his inner beast.

Together they must use their extraordinary gifts to catch Lily’s stalker before he attacks again, but revealing their secrets to one another could destroy their growing love or save them both.


“Lily?” His strong hands gently
cupped her shoulders.

“Don’t, please don’t.”

She pulled away, fully intending to
flee. Her resistance shattered, and she turned into his embrace. It was too
late to escape. Pressing against his strength, she wound her arms around his
neck and pulled him closer. His erection prodded her stomach, and she moaned. A
heavy groan filled his throat as he lifted her from her feet. He kicked the bag
aside as he sat her on the counter.

“I can’t wait,” he growled. His
flaring aura spiraled with colors she couldn’t name. She caught her breath. One
hand burrowed through her hair, keeping her still as he stepped between her
thighs. “You’re all I could think about all day.”

Clasping her bottom, he slid her to
the edge of the counter. With his lips claiming her mouth, he unbuttoned her
slacks, than lifted her slightly to push them down and off.

The cold surface only made her more
aware of his scorching heat. His rough denim pants scraped her inner thighs in
contrast with the silky hair under her palms. Her pulse leaped, and she gasped.
His male scent mixed with hints of the wild forest filled her nostrils. When
his fingertip explored the heated moisture gathering at her juncture, she
tightened her thighs around his hips.

Barbara Edwards

Wild Rose Press: Ancient Blood, a Black Rose


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Scary starts with S

Did you ever notice that the scariest words start with S? Take
S-s-s-spooky. Just the word sends shivers down my spine. So I took that idea

Sunset in Rhodes End
Halloween Eve

and made a list I find scary.

10. Spook is another name for a ghost, but where ghost
conjures up cute images like Casper, in my mind spook is the sheet-clad figure
shifting through shadows.

9. Swamp is the site for slithery, slimy, sucking muck. The
victim always stumbles into the swamp, tries to escape and sinks.

8. Sarcophagus is more frightening than a simple tomb or
crypt. Picture the stone lid sliding aside for Dracula to ease out in his
nightly hunt for blood.

7. Shadows move and shift in the darkness. Shadows conceal
the evil things we strain to see. Shadows appear in places they don’t belong.
Shadows dog our steps.

Book One: Rhodes End Series
Paranormal Romance

6. Shape-shifters are more terrifying than werewolves since
they can assume any form.

5. Skeletons are a Halloween favorite to hang outside. They
rattle in the wind. Or make a click-click-clicking noise as they sneak along
the hallway of the old mansion.

4. Skulls are skinless, eyeless, sometimes toothless shapes,
all that remain of the place considered strong enough to protect our brains.
Skulls remind us of their past humanity.

3. Snakes are slithery and slippery. Asps hiss.

2. Stake is not exactly scary until you put it in the
context of killing Dracula or staking out your enemy on an anthill.

1. Samhain (pronounced Sow-een) is the Druid or witch
celebration of the holiday we renamed Halloween. Samhain is the time when the
curtain between worlds is thinnest and allows the creatures from the other side
to come into our world. Souls, demons, incubi, ghosts can roam freely and
do.  Fear they will not return is the
reason for November 1st to be called All Souls Day and a day of
prayer in many religions.

I’m sure you can think of more s’s. You’re welcome to add
them to my list.


Barbara Edwards writes paranormal romance.

Ancient Blood, Book Two Finding Rhodes End Series-blurb

Lily Alban escapes a murderous stalker, but his vicious attack
leaves her with the ability to see auras. She finds safety in the tiny hamlet
of Rhodes End where a stranger stands out like a red light. Try as she might to
deny her growing desire for Cole, she seeks his help but soon discovers the man
she loves is not a man at all.

Werewolf Cole Benedict resists his attraction to Lily. A botanist
researching the healing herbs to find a cure for Lycanthropy, he’s determined
to protect Lily from her stalker as well as himself even in human form, but
instinct takes over when he changes to his inner beast.

Together they must use their extraordinary gifts to catch Lily’s
stalker before he attacks again, but revealing their secrets to one another
could destroy their growing love or save them both.

Buy link for Ancient Blood



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Blog Site:


Ancient Blood


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Buy link for Ancient Blood