French Silk Pie

With technical difficulties.

I make pies from scratch. Those who know me personally understand that I am a bit of a baking snob.  I don’t like mixes. I don’t like refrigerated pre-made stuff when at all avoidable. (I do sometimes use them for certain recipes, particularly my husband’s comfort food recipes that cannot be altered, so he thinks.)

We were planning on heading over to the in-laws for a little pre-Independence day family fun time. We were only responsible for dessert, so I decided to make a few pies. Chocolate Chip pie was easy and ready the night before.

My daughter “helped” me with the pie crust. I let her put in the flour and use the pastry cutter. Then I let her roll out her own small pieces with a tiny wooden rolling pin while I did the real work. I baked two shells and let them cool overnight.

The next morning I started on the lemon filling for lemon meringue. Sugar, egg yolks, lemon juice and cornstarch cooked into a pudding. Then I whipped up the meringue, making extra because I wanted a lot on top of my pie.

My third choice for the day’s enjoyment was french silk.  I sorted through different recipes, as there are at least a dozen variations. I wanted something that was going to taste similar to Tippin’s French Silk pie (which they’ve now discontinued due to the price of eggs), so I selected a recipe where a softball chocolate mixture is folded with whipped cream to create a fluffy, silky filling.

I had just enough of our favorite glass-bottle heavy cream that needed to be used up that day. I started whipping the cream in a small bowl. The cream started to stiffen, coming closer to yummy goodness – and then skipped completely to chunky butter and liquid stage. Nothing inbetween. I didn’t have enough to start over, so I stirred this into the chocolate mixture and whisked it smooth. Pouring this into the pie crust, I hoped that it would taste good enough to eat.

Turns out, when topped with some fluffy whipped cream, that pie is delicious! Rich and delicious. The chocolate is silky and smooth and the crust was flaky. Now I have to replicate the mishap the next time.

Chocolate Pie

Indie Pride Day!!

writerbeelove:

What a great thing to celebrate!

Originally posted on a day in the life of patootie:

CGBGz9xVEAEERePJuly 1st is the second annual INDIE PRIDE DAY. Show your love for indie books and indie authors and bring awareness to the great indie stories out there.

What is indie, you ask?

An indie is an author who has chosen to go beyond the traditional world of publishing and make it on their own. Not only do we write the stories, but we are also responsible for great covers, perfect editing, ebook and print formatting, marketing, and sales. We wear many hats!

How can you participate?

Join us today and make indie trendy! Tweet a picture of yourself holding your favorite indie book and include the hashtag #IndieBooksBeSeen. Post the photo on Facebook. Blog about a great indie book. Re-tweet and share other pictures you run across today.

IMG_20150630_213047733_HDRIndie authors everywhere thank you!

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Cover Reveal – Army of the Goddess

Update July 1, 2015:  Pick up your copy now!  Amazon.com

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The cover is here, my loyal friends and followers. Here is your first peek.Cover Reveal - AotG2

Army of the Goddess is on it’s way! Many of you are eager to know what will happen to Axandra and Quinn in this next step in their lives.

About the Book:

Axandra Saugray, Protectress of Bona Dea, struggles to recover from near-mortal injuries. Her short-term memory fails her frequently and her doctor advises amputation of her severely burned arm that refuses to heal. While dealing with her personal struggles, she must also prepare her people for a war of survival against a race of creatures intent on conquering them.

Adding to the complications of political life, a group of citizens calling themselves the Citizens for Restructure are rallying for a complete elimination for the office of Protectress and a rewrite of the covenants and articles of the People’s Council, hoping to usher humankind back into an age of capitalist economy and technological progress.

Continuing the story of the planet Bona Dea, Army of the Goddess delves deeper into the traditions and culture of a human colony struggling to survive drastic upheaval of their peaceful way of life.

 

About the Author:

Elizabeth N. Love is a native Kansan who grew up on the prairie in rural small towns. From a very young age she enjoyed creating stories and poems and practices daily in the art of wordsmithing. She gives great thanks to her mother’s love of books and the encouragement of friends, teachers, and family members for finding her voice and continuing her writing journey. Besides writing, she enjoys other forms of creativity and art, such as drawing, crafts, and making music. Now that Army of the Goddess is finished, she is working on a new paranormal novel to come out in 2016. She lives near Kansas City with her family.

Look for the release in July 2015 on Amazon.com!

CallOfTheGoddess_Small

Haven’t read the first installment yet? Pick up a copy of Call of the Goddess now and catch up before the story continues.

 

 

Dance Mom – Well, Not So Much

My daughter is in ballet this year. She’s a tot with a short attention span, and her class is performing a dance with a few dozen moves about 2 minutes long. This leads to comical assortment of girls standing and staring in confusion, girl’s doing half the moves, and those girls making up their own moves to the music.

We’ve come to recital time and in proper preparation, we’ve been through the “tech rehearsal” – giving the children and staff the opportunity to use the stage and set the lights. This is my daughter’s first time on a stage performing, and she’s a little unsure what to expect. But she’s brave and curious and does her best to follow the moves while a small group of parents and siblings watch on. They run through the routine three times before being dismissed. We don’t have to stay for the other parts of the rehearsal so we don’t. It’s time to hit the pool.

We’ve been through “dress rehearsal” – all of the dancers dressed in costume and makeup for a straight run-through of the show from beginning to end. No one is allowed in the auditorium during the rehearsal, so all of the girls (and four boys) are sequestered in the “dressing rooms” with the Backstage Moms while waiting their turn. I wait outside in the courtyard of the high school with my computer and pleasantly balmy weather while the majority of parents and siblings are waiting in the lobby annoying each other. I’m happy to be outside by myself with the pigeons and robins and sparrows. The two hours of alone time allow me to get quite a bit of editing work accomplished. I keep infrequent watch on the group inside in order to pick up a sign that they are ready to dismiss the dancers to their parents.2015-05-02 11.57.34

And now the recital. It’s early afternoon. In the dressing room, I help my daughter into her costume and fix her make-up. She’s actually very excited to wear the blush and eyeshadow and lipstick, though it only lasts as long as she keeps her hands off of her face. I had to buy the make-up specifically for her, since I don’t wear these contrivances on a daily basis and don’t keep them on hand. By the time she hits the stage, there won’t be any left. After promising that Mommy, Daddy, Brother, Grandma and Grampa will be watching from the audience, I leave her with her class and head out to the lengthening line of families waiting to be seated in the auditorium. Flowers by the dozens and gifts in frilly gift bags walk by. On the way in, we are handed colorful programs featuring a couple of pages for the actual program notes and rosters and about a dozen more with advertisements from local companies and family ads conspicuously boasting encouraging words for everyone to read. The high school auditorium is packed. Only a few free seats dot the sloped landscape of spring-loaded butt-traps.

I’m proud of my daughter. For a three-year-old, she’s accomplished quite a bit and she’s up on the stage with a smile and makes her way through the movements bit-by-bit despite the distraction of a full house of strangers. I’m disappointed with the teacher that the class did not learn more ballet basics and the routine was mostly about looking adorable – which they accomplished in full. We wait through two full hours and 27 performances to glimpse these few minutes of the Itty Bitty Ballet dancers.

Obviously, I don’t share the overly animated enthusiasm of some of the other moms. I want things to be run well, and I want to see my daughter learn independence as well as knowing when to synchronize with a group, and both of these valuable skills can be learned in these situations. Fortunately, this isn’t a competitive arena, at least not yet. She won’t be soloing for a while and she has a lot of work to do before she’s ready for that. I want her to enjoy experiences I never had the opportunity to attempt. She’s happy the recital is over and that she doesn’t have to do the dance again – she was getting a little bored with the same routine. She wants to dance again next fall, but maybe in the jazz class or tap. Come August, she’ll get to make choice, and I’ll be back in the waiting area of the studio reading books or trying to write for thirty minutes while dance moms, dads, and non-dance siblings fill the hard space with a cacophony of chatter.

 

 

New WIP

I have finally finished penning and editing book number two in the Bona Dea novels series entitled Army of the Goddess. It’s off in the publisher’s hands at this very moment and will soon be graced with a cover and formatted for “printing.” Hooray! and Whew! Hopefully the final review won’t take too long and everyone will be able to read it.

Now it’s time to focus on a new idea that’s been skittering around in my brain for the past several months, something completely different (before I get to work on book number three of the Bona Dea novels to conclude Axandra’s adventure with the Stormflies).  I’ve been keeping notes along the way of several possible stories, both paranormal and sci-fi.

Probably entitled The Antique Rose, this new Work In Progress is set in New England at a village bed and breakfast and involves a young couple, an elderly widowed innkeeper, and a spirit. Several thousand words have already been penned in the draft, toying with the character’s backstories and the sequence of events. I’ve even done a bit of research into ghosts, garden herbs, and magnetic fields … so I’ll let that sink in about where this story might be going.

Tonight, I’ll toast myself with a celebratory Bee’s Knees Cocktail, after ballet and taekwondo for the kids. Cheers!

Bedtime Aerobics

Put both kids in bed. Climb into own bed. Get warm. Start reading.

1st kids needs a drink of water. Leave warm bed, go downstairs, fetch water. Get some for yourself. You’ll need it. Deliver water.

2nd kid now needs a drink of water. 2nd kid is out of bed playing with blocks. Order 2nd kid back to bed. Go downstairs to fetch water. Get some more for yourself.

Deliver water. Watch her drink and put cup out of the way. Put 2nd kid in bed and cover up.

Retrieve cup from 1st kid. Re-tuck blanket. This requires climbing the ladder to the loft bed. (In retrospect, not the best investment.)

Return to own bed. Cover up, get warm, start reading again.

2nd kid, “Mama, I spilled.”

Get up. Fetch towel. Dry up water. Convince 2nd child that her covers are not wet and she needs to lie back down. Drop towel in laundry basket.

2nd kid needs more water. Go downstairs and refill cup. Return upstairs with fresh water.

2nd kid needs to go to the bathroom. When finished, put her back in bed.

Return to bed. Get warm. Don’t start reading yet.

1st kid, “Mom, can you come here?”

“What for?”

“I need to tell you something.”

“Then just tell me.”

“You have to come here.”

Of course. Get up again. Listen to what first kid has to say, which is something about wanting an Xbox so he can play Halo. “We’ll talk about that some other time. Go to sleep. Good night.”

“Sing me a lullaby.”

Sing Twinkle, Twinkle. Start return to bed. 2nd kid hollers for mama, so do a quick spin back to bedrooms. Find 2nd kid playing with blocks again. Put back in bed and say goodnight.

Return to bed. Again. Listen, wait. Everything is quiet. Begin reading.

Hear footsteps dashing down the hall. 2nd kid climbs into bed with you and finally falls asleep. Carry 2nd kid back to her own bed. Good strength exercise.

Get back in bed and finally relax.

Then realize that all that water you drank earlier is filling up your bladder. Get up and go to the bathroom.

Why I Enjoy Silence

There are many unseen things in this world that we are only aware of because we hear them.

When I refer to silence, I refer to the lack of human speech – no people, no television, no songs or music. I even prefer nothing human made – no cars, no air conditioners, no humming lights or tapping keyboards.

Natural silence: the moment when human kind is filtered out and only the wild seeps in.

At first, you hear the birds. They are the loudest of nature’s creatures in your typical setting. Dozens of species hide securely in the trees and shrubs, calling to each other across the open air. You might catch a glimpse of a robin or a grackle, but so many other birds remain elusive. Woodpeckers ratatat on tree branches. Bluebirds pummel hard shelled beetles against rocks.

A rustle in the branches might reveal a larger, silent woodland creature. While I waiting in stillness, the deer will  go about their business without fear unless they catch wind of you. Did you know deer make a sound like a sneeze when they warn you to get away? I’ve heard it. I obeyed and let them leave without interference.

The wind itself makes no sound until it acts upon the objects impeding its path. The trees clap a susurrus of applause with their leaves. Dry grass rattles like shakers in the hands of a well-trained percussionist. The rims of our own ears might create a low whistle as the wind blows over our cheeks.

The subtlest bending of grass blades might reveal a reptile in hiding, a small blue-tailed skink or a slithering garter snake. This sound goes unnoticed when even the slightest whisper of human noise drowns it out.

Then there are the creatures that make no noise at all, and it takes a moment of stillness to notice they co-exist in the nearby spaces. Owls perch on tree limbs, camoflaged and observing you from above. A green heron may sail in over the pond without so much as a whisper and perch on a waterlogged tree.

The silence allows me to recharge. Moments without noisy interruption permit the muscle in my jaw and back to relax. I can control my breathing to slow my heart rate and release stress. Silent moments are precious and unfortunately few and far between. The human world insists upon reasserting itself, pressing in from all sides, overtaking the silence and squashing it.

Silence

Short Stories

On my recent blog tour with Rave Reviews Book Club, I was asked to write a number of guest posts about just about any subject I wanted to broach. Keeping in mind the posts I’ve hosted for other members, I wanted to look at a few subjects I hadn’t seen anyone touch. Here is one of my favorite of the guest posts I wrote.

Short Stories

Some of you may have noticed that not only do I have a full length novel available to the public (Call of the Goddess), but I’ve also published a collection of my own short stories under the title Through a Window. Within a scant 100 pages, these five short stories capture an array of intriguing situations both on and off Earth. This book includes an original illustration for each story by yours truly.

On that note, I thought I’d look at this so often ignored form of writing. We fiction authors get wrapped up in writing the next popular novel. So often, we get tied down to writing vast quantities of words, and we shout out our word count for the day as a badge of honor. “Look what I just did!” And congrats to anyone who has the opportunity and spark to grind out several thousand nouns, adjectives, and verbs in one day. I envy you.

I’m going to trim that down today.

I love to read a good short story. I always have. Short stories were how I started my writing adventure.

So what is it about short stories that some find appealing? That’s a question both for those who write them and those who read them.

For me, short stories quell a thirst for reading when I may only have a limited amount of time and still want to embrace the full breadth of the story. I want a chance to walk away from a story with a feeling of accomplishment and understanding in one sitting, instead of taking days to reach that satisfying ending.

I’ve heard some readers say that a short story won’t give them the same amount of substance as a full-length novel. They want a hearty meal for their reading pleasure, not just a snack. I have to disagree. A good short story will give me the same sense of satisfaction as any book ten times as long, and with less time invested in the main course.

In the last six months, I’ve read two excellent compilations of short stories. The first was The Power of Six by RRBC’s own Nicholas Rossis. I found each brief tale poignant and particularly telling of the human condition. I found many of them humorous as well, and I’m a fan of using science fiction to point out our human quirks. I swept through the six stories in just a couple of days worth of reading time and craved more once I finished. I noted in my review that he reminded me a great deal of Isaac Asimov, one of the most iconic science fiction writers of all time. You’re not quite sure where the story is going to take you, but you are never let down by the ending.

The second was Scouting for the Reaper by Jacob M. Appel. This collection reminded me more of authors such as John Updike in the way Appel captured current and past social sentiments by focusing on rather ordinary characters and ordinary situations. It’s the twist that highlights the emotions and the unusual choices the character makes in the end, whether for better or worse.

As for writing such brief whimsies of literary art, I enjoy the challenge of using words in their most efficient capacity. There is a carefully budgeted economy of sentiment and storytelling that must be met in 10,000 words or less. Character and world building must take place in an instant, and the story must resolve in the nick of time. As much dedication as it takes to write that novel, it takes precision and self-discipline to compose an equally substantive work in so few words.

I urge everyone to set a challenge, once a year at least, to try a hand at writing a story of 10,000 words or less. If you really want to push yourself, shoot for 1500 or less! Practice economy, expand your vocabulary. By limiting yourself, you’ll expand your creativity.

 

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You can find Through a Window by Elizabeth N. Love on Amazon.com

About the Book:

Take a journey through the window of imagination, into the possible realms of alien worlds, a kingdom that knows only light, and the annihilation of an entire species. These stories will satisfy your craving for adventure and thought-provoking fiction.

The five short stories encapsulate a variety of musings from the last two decades, including alien cultures, human relationships, a world without darkness, and genocide. The collection includes pen and ink illustrations of the author’s own creation.

Reviews from Amazon readers:

5 Stars – In these five short stories, Elizabeth Love encapsulates the wonder of human (and humanoid) curiosity and strength. This compilation is reminiscent of Stephen King’s early Sci-Fi days, back when he wrote under a pen-name.
Her humanoid characters are fully distinct, their culture and context and well realized, and her imagery will bring you right into the book. Overall, I would highly recommend it!

4 Stars – When I hear short stories mentioned, my mind quickly goes to children’s stories, but this book is not about stories for children, although it could be read, understood, and enjoy by very smart children. There was a quirkiness about them that made them unique.
The first story, The far-seer, told us about two worlds, one intelligent enough to explore other worlds, and the other not so intelligent to believe in a fake god. At least two people from this later world, Mela and her friend Bena knew the truth.
I thoroughly enjoyed the third story, Nearly Perfect. I like the fact that in the end Azure got to decide her own fate.
Zana’s Heart was also very interesting. That was a strange way of explaining how night and day came about, but that was fine. Every culture have their own explanation.
The last story was good too, but the end was so sad. Did Hwee-Kee just walk into her sure death?
Otherwise, the stories were very well written. I had fun reading them.

 

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