Thursday, September 29, 2011

Nick, of Time - J. A. Carlton, Author

Butternut Squash Soup *Vegetarian friendly*
(A J. A. Carlton Favorite)

1 medium sized butternut squash peeled and cubed
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 good sized yellow or sweet onion finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper

Saute chopped onion for approximately 4 minutes in olive oil, until onion is transparent.

Add Chicken or Vegetable broth.
Add butternut squash cubes, salt and pepper
Boil until soft.
Puree butternut squash until smooth, return to broth and stir in until well blended.

If your diet permits serve with a garnish of fresh parsley and Romano or Parmesan cheese. Makes 4-5 servings can be served hot or cold. If diet permits, can be thickened with 1 8 oz tub of whipped cream cheese for those really cold winter nights.

Nick, of Time - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds 

“…please, won’t somebody help me?” his voice barely touched the darkened space while he did his very best to hold back the fear that always came when he was alone. Frank Emerson didn’t want to cry, he didn’t like to cry; and even if Nick said it was okay sometimes, he never cried without good reason – and there was nothing more that Frankie wanted than to be like his big brother. But Nick never got thrown into a smelly, old dumpster either. It wouldn’t have been so
bad if it’d been the one by the main doors of the Robert Townsend Elementary School. That was where they threw out the papers and dittos and stuff, so it wasn’t so bad in there. But for some reason, Tommy Haywood and Bruce Evans always made sure to toss him into the one behind the lunch room, into stinky old piles of half-rotted food and gross stuff from snotty pasta to curdled milk. And sometimes there was stuff he really didn’t want to think about, stuff that was mixed in with the saw dust Harry used to clean up when someone got sick.’

Nick, of Time
introduces the reader to two young brothers who, when we first meet them, are deep into the task of navigating life with an absentee parent while surrounded by playground bullies and their mom's creepy boyfriend. There's nothing Nick wouldn't do to care for and protect his little brother, including running interference to keep that creepy boyfriend away from Frank.

As if tending their daily trials and needs weren't enough, one day a friend, in the guise of the school janitor threatens to expose the shame Nick keeps buried from his brother all while revealing a destiny that any adult would find more than a little daunting. Nick and Frank were born from an ancient line of heroes who once saved the world of light and all its inhabitants from the clutches of the malevolent Living Dark and its sinister minions, the Schades. Once again,
the world of light is in danger, and these two young boys must embrace their destinies as one, to save it and all they hold dear.

Throughout the series the recurring theme is family, friendship, and the power of love to heal and overcome any hurt. There are also occasional glimpses into how even a small window of abusive behavior can leave scars and pains that echo forward in unfathomable ways. I also want to make you aware that 30% of all the author'sroyalties from Nick, of Time go to the prevention of child abuse through the “Heroes of the Line” campaign. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

An Uncommon Family - Christa Polkinhorn, Author

Tiramisu à l‘orange
(A Christa favorite)


1 package of lady fingers
juice of 4 to 5 oranges (4 is usually enough)
a shot of Grand Marnier or Cointreau (optional)
250 grams mascarpone
500 grams sour cream
grated skin of two oranges
120 grams of sugar
1 package of vanilla sugar or a shot of vanilla extract

Cover the bottom of a bowl with a layer of lady fingers.
Pour the orange juice and the Grand Marnier or Cointreau over the lady fingers, so that the lady fingers are just covered.
Mix the mascarpone, sour cream, sugar, vanilla sugar, grated orange skin and pour the mixture over the lady fingers.

Keep in the refrigerator for a few hours, preferably overnight.
Dust with chocolate powder (optional).

An Uncommon Family – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts

“Mama?” she whispered.  She saw the woman only from behind, but the bounce in her step, the long, reddish-blond hair flowing down her back, swaying left and right, the tall, slender figure – it must be her mother.  She tossed the rest of the ice cream into the trash can, got up, and ran after the woman.  “Mama!” she called as the woman got ready to cross the street.  The light turned from blinking red to solid red, just as the woman reached the other side.  Karla rushed after her, barely aware of the honking around her or of the shrill warning bell of the blue-and-white streetcar.  She heard someone yell at her but by then she had arrived at the other side.  The woman was walking along the river toward the Lake of Zurich.  “Mama, wait!” Karla bumped into someone.  “Watch it, kiddo.” A man stepped aside.  “Mama…”  The woman finally turned around and looked back, scanning the people behind her, then walked on.  Karla stopped dumbfounded.  It as the face of a stranger.

Six year old Karla is devastated when she realizes the woman she followed wasn’t her mother.  The disappointment she felt when finding out she had been mistaken brought her to her tears causing her to fall and skin her knees.  Jonas Bergman was walking by at that time and helped the little girl up and tried to ease her pain until her Aunt Anna made it to her side.  When Karla explained that she thought the lady was her mother, Anna had to explain to not just her but Jonas as well that her mother wouldn’t be coming back.  Karla’s mother and grandmother had both been killed in a car accident.  This was something that Karla knew but wasn’t ready to accept.

After her sister and mother were killed, Anna took custody of Anna.  She was a single woman with memories of a happier, yet devastating time when she was younger.  Twenty years ago she was married to a wonderful man and living in New York.  Live couldn’t be better.  But it could be worse and that’s exactly what it became. 

Jonas was a widower.  The love of his life had died of cancer leaving him with an emptiness that no one would ever fill again.  His life now consisted of his art work and teaching.  And after seeing some of Karla’s work, he knew she would be a master student. 

Now, can you take 3 very lonely people and make them into one happy family?  Can you take the lack of trust from a woman that has been hurt so badly that she swore to never trust another man and turn her into a loving companion?  Can you take a man who spends his free time talking to his deceased wife as if she is there and convenience him to take a step toward healing and happiness?  This is what Karla and her best friend Maja plan to do.

An Uncommon Family was an extremely heart touching book.  When I read a book to review I normally make notes or post stickies on pages marking events I want to remember.  I didn’t do that with this book.  I didn’t have time.  I became so engrossed that I turned page after page and forgot the notes.  This is a truly beautiful story about love and the loss of love.

Friday, September 23, 2011

How to Tell a Great Story - Aneeta Sundararaj, Author

Aneeta’s Fried Rice.

2 ½ small bowls of cooked rice
½ chicken breast cubed (chicken meat can substituted with mutton or beef)
2 teaspoons of ginger-garlic-chili paste (this is 1 inch of ginger, 3 pips of garlic and 1 red chili pounded together)
Salt to taste
½ teaspoon of black pepper
2 tablespoons of meat curry powder
1 medium onion, diced.
1 small bowl of mixed vegetables (peas, corn and carrots)
A handful of fried ikan bilis (anchovies)
2 tablespoons of oil

2.      Heat up oil in a wok. Add the ginger-garlic-chili paste and onion and stir until brown.
3.      Add the rest of the meat curry powder and stir until fragrant.
4.      Add mix vegetables and cook for about three minutes.
5.      Add the meat and stir until cooked.
6.      Lastly, add the rice and stir until it is properly coated with all the ingredients.
7.      Remove from the wok and garnish with fried ikan bilis.

How to Tell a Great Story – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts

‘The art of storytelling is not just about standing before a whole lot of people and saying the first thing that pops into your head.  It is about communicating your thoughts, ideas and vision to people in an effective manner.  It is about sharing your opinion with someone else.  It is about recording your own history for future generations.’

When I first started reading How to Tell A Great Story I thought to myself “I write cookbooks so this book won’t pertain to me.”  Wrong!  This is one of the most informative books I’ve ever read pertaining to writing and that’s all forms of writing as well as speaking.  By including speaking I want to point out that no matter what your topic, when you stand in front of someone you are a “story teller.”  Whenever you start a conversation you perform all of the steps of telling a story.  You have a theme or topic.  There is a purpose in what you are saying and your conversation will have at least one character.    How well your conversation, story or presentation is presented is determined by how strongly you emit your theme, purpose and characters.  And this is what Aneeta Sundararaj will teach you in her book How to Tell a Great Story.  She shows how to effectively make the theme the essence of the story.  How to get the purpose of the story across to your audience.  How to set up your settings using smell, taste, feelings, hearing and sight.  How to build character within your characters.  But most importantly she will help you understand ‘why’ you wrote or want to write your story. 

This author takes it even further with her explanation of when, how and if you should use slang, swearing and clichés.  The use of punctuation – what to use, when and where.  And to wrap it all up she supplies the forms that can be used for your research which is a vital part of your writing.  No one wants to hear someone talk about a subject that they know nothing about.  All-in-all, this is a book that should not only be used by writers of all genres but also as a study book for corporate presentations, teachers of all school ages and maybe a pastor now and then.  I write cookbooks but I will be referring back to this for my own writings.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cold Hearted Son of a Witch - The Dragoneers Saga II - M. R. Mathias, Author

Nacho Pie
A M. R. Mathias Special
1 pound ground beef 
1/2 cup chopped onion 
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce 
2 tablespoons taco seasoning 
1 tube (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent rolls 
1-1/2 cups crushed nacho tortilla chips, divided 
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream 
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in tomato sauce and taco seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, separate crescent dough into eight triangles; place in a greased 9-in. pie plate with points toward the center. Press onto the bottom and up the sides to form a crust; seal perforations.
  • Sprinkle 1 cup chips over crust. Top with meat mixture. Carefully spread sour cream over meat mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and remaining chips. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Cold Hearted Son of a Witch – Dragoneers Saga Book II – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts

‘The Crown Prince lay peacefully, as if asleep, inside the currently green-colored magical field.  He was afflicted with the Goblin King’s poison, a terrible stuff that had maddened and then slowly corroded from the inside out anyone who’d breathed it.  If the stasis failed before an antidote was concocted, he would surely die.  Jenka knew Herald was right about what had to be done, but that didn’t relieve the urge Jenka was feeling to just ignore common sense and keep his word by saving his fellow Dragoneer.  

The Dragoneer’s Lair, as the hall was now called, was an intensely morbid place.  Queen Alvazina was often found there arguing with her husband or weeping over her son’s body.  Like Mysterian, she was a witch of the Hazeltine, and she fully understood the magnitude of the situation.  She knew Richard’s life hung in the balance, and that there was no certainty about the antidotal potion Mysterian hoped to brew.  Her sorrow seemed to sap the hope out of some of the others, thus the hall was sometimes the quietest place in Mainsted.’

In his first book, Mathias introduced us to Jenka De Swasso, Rikky Camille and Zahrellion, along with their dragons Jade, Silva and Crystal.  He took us through the battle with the Gravelbone and the poison that put Prince Richard into his state of suspended animation.  We saw King Blanchard and Linux change places for the benefit of the war.  We also learned the prophecy of what is called the “Confliction” that will be fought by 10 – 5 Dragoneers and 5 dragons.  But what is the “confliction” and who are the other 2 Dragoneers?  Where will they come from?  Where will the battle take place?  Will the antidote, once brewed and administered to Prince Richard, counteract the poison and bring him back to help fight in the confliction?  And will Linux and the King finally make the switch back into their own bodies?

It didn’t take me long to read M. R. Mathias’ first book.  It was packed with action, excitement, suspense and a little humor now and then, making it a fast enjoyable read.  When I read his second book in this series Cold Hearted Son of a Witch, I expected more of the same.  Well, he didn’t disappoint me.  It has everything that the 1st book had and more.

I’ve never been a big fan of fantasy books but this author is changing that.  He could carry this book into a series of 10 and I’ll read, and am sure, enjoy every one.  I love reading this series.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Infinite Exposure - Roland Hughes, Author

Chicken and Rice Bake
(A Roland Hughes Favorite)

7 boneless skinless chicken tenders
1 pkg. Lipton Onion Soup Mix
2 can cream of mushroom soup
2 c. uncooked rice
4 c. water

Use a big dish and stir everything except the chicken until mixed.

Place chicken on top and bake about 2 hours in 325 degree oven.

You should route or stir around the edges about half way through

to stop the rice from drying on the bottom.

Add water or Chardonnay if too much fluid evaporates.

You can make it 3 c water and 1 c Chardonnay for additional flavor.

Infinite Exposure - Guest Review by Matthew Morrison

Roland Hughes creates an intriguing jambalaya with his latest offering:  Infinite Exposure.  He mixes the raw carnage of high finance and international banking with a murky broth of covert "ops."  Spicing the mixture cleverly with the bitterness of a neo-Nazi plan to eradicate al-Qaeda Cyber terrorists.  Served on a chilled plate of good old American corporate greed.  This book will wake you up to the possibilities what this world may be coming to.

Matthew Morrison 
Order your copy by going to

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Dead End - Leigh Russell, Author

Salmon Pasta Salad
(A Leigh Russell Special)

1 cup uncooked pasta (shells, noodles, etc.)
2 Tbsp. butter/margarine
1/2 - 3/4 cup shredded cheese
2 boiled eggs, peeled and cooled
sweet pickle relish (to taste)
1 can (6 oz.) boneless, skinless salmon drained
salt and pepper (to taste)

Cook pasta according to package.  Drain and while still hot, pour into a large bowl.  Add butter and cheese allowing hot pasta to melt.  Chop and add boiled eggs and relish (to taste).  Add salmon and enough mayonnaise to slightly coat pasta.  You can add chopped onions, black olives or substitute dill relish for sweet.

Dead End – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts
Abigail’s head hurt.  She was afraid something was wrong with her eyes.  She couldn’t see anything.  A heavy weight was pressing down on her chest.  She fought against a feeling of nausea, and tried to turn her head but couldn’t.  “Hello,” she croaked.  No answer.  She was alone in the darkness… “Hello,” she called again.  Her throat hurt and there was a strange smell.  By now Abigail had realized she was in hospital, coming around from an operation.  Nurses of all people should have known better than to leave her lying on her back.  There was a risk she might choke to death if she were sick.  She seemed to lie there for hours, drifting in and out of consciousness.  “Hello,” she called again.  “Is anyone there?  Please?”  The light dazzled her “Am I in hospital?” she asked.  Her voice sounded far away.  “Are you a doctor?”  “Hello, Mrs. Kirby.  Mrs. Abigail Kirby.”  The man smiled.  “How are you feeling?”  He held up a syringe.  Clear liquid glistened on the tip of the needle.  The man leaned forward, his head framed by an aura of white light.
Those would be some of Abigail Kirby’s last words.  Her body would be found later in the woody part of the park with her tongue missing.  Abigail left a daughter Lucy, a son Ben, a husband Matthew and a world of questions for Detective Inspector Geraldine Steel and Detective Sergeant Ian Peterson to sort through and find the answers.  When another victim is found later with his eyes missing, the two detectives are still baffled and without answers.  What they think might be their one and only clue comes when Lucy disappears in what the family believes to be a runaway but turns out to be a bit more.  But still the clues are bleak.  Will they find Lucy before something really bad happens to her?  Will there be other murders with missing body parts before the killer is found and stopped?  Good questions and the answers won’t reveal themselves until the end.
As with Road Closed, Author Leigh Russell kept me guessing.  She gave the clues but I ignored them until the end finding myself not believing the ending as the true killer was finally revealed.  Just as Jeffery Deaver said Leigh Russell has ‘A brilliant talent in the thriller field.’  A very enjoyable book.
376 pages
No Exit Press
ISBN# 978-1-84243-356-0

Friday, September 16, 2011

For Every Action There Are Consequences - Gail Baugniet, Author

Pepper's Chili
(Its a favorite of the Author's too)

1 softball-sized sweet onion, chopped fine

1/4 cup walnut oil
3 lbs. 85% lean Ground Round
3 cans chili beans in medium sauce 
2 pkgs. chili seasoning mix
2 29oz. cans of tomato sauce
1 14.5 oz. can of beef broth
3 cups dried macaroni noodles, cooked

Heat oil and add chopped onion, cook until tender.
Add Ground Round and brown the meat in the onion mix.
Shake chili seasoning onto the meat; add chili beans with sauce, tomato sauce, and the can of beef broth.
Let chili simmer while boiling the macaroni, then add the cooked macaroni to the chili. Continue to simmer for about 30 minutes.
Serve with freshly grated Wisconsin cheddar cheese and oyster crackers. (Salad and Wine optional.)

For Every Action There Are Consequences – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts

‘Back in my office, I set Jed’s report aside and turned my attention to the witness statements.  Neighbors had reported loud noises and shouts coming from the only bungalow in the cul-de-sac.  According to a neighbor two houses down, everyone knew about the constant arguing.  One statement quoted a woman at the top of the cul-de-sac as saying, “Liticia Tuarence often accused her husband of passing judgment on her.  I saw the police arrive more than once when things got out of hand.  We went out of our way to ignore the squabbles.  This time was different, lots of banging and profanity.”  I reread the remark about “passing judgment” and wondered if the woman had chosen the phrase herself or is she’d only repeated Liticia’s words.  According to Jed, Wes Tuarence admitted he’d stabbed his wife multiple times though he offered no explanation for his actions and refused to make any further comment.  The snapshots stapled to the file told me far more about the man than any written statement ever could.  White borders around the photos drew my attention to the gruesome details of each knife wound, giving me a measure of the hatred this man must have harbored.’

Pepper Bibeau is an insurance investigator for Early Settlers Insurance Company.  Her boss “Sully” Sullivan has just assigned her to not one but two cases that will take her to Chicago to hopefully solve.  The first case is a claim filed by a Doctor Patel who has filed claims for five members of the same family.  Due to the heredity of the children’s illness, sickle cell anemia, the probability was that the claim was correct.  But due to the lack of blood and other lab work, it became Pepper’s job to check out the claim.

Her second assignment in Chicago came in the form of a favor to Sully.  There had been an insurance policy taken out on Liticia that listed her husband as beneficiary and an orphanage as second in line.  Sully’s hopes were that Pepper could turn up something, anything, that would help to convict Wes Tuarence of murder and not allow him to claim the proceeds.  Sully personally wanted to see it go to the orphanage. 

What should have been two simple cases taking just a few days to research ended up taking Pepper into the next week and almost getting her killed.  But which case was the real threat?  Were the insurance claims legitimate or was the doctor faking claims?  Were Liticia and Wes Tuarence in over their heads in something illegal that caused them to flee Chicago or are they victims of the circumstances? 

As the number of deaths increased, my list of suspects declined.  At one point I really suspected it might be one of the “good guys” gone bad.  Actually, I had that suspicion until the end.  Was I right?  You’ll have to read the book for yourself to find out.

346 pages
ISBN# 9781456522155

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Attitude Girl - Mila Bernadkin

Chocolate Salami
Here is a recipe for a very reach and scrumptious dessert – chocolate salami. 

      You will need:

  • 2 packs (7 oz. each) of Petite Beurre biscuits
  • 20 oz. of finely chopped walnuts
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 ½ cups of sugar
  • 6 tbsp of Hershey’s cocoa
  • 1 lb of unsalted butter
  • 1 large saucepan
  • 5 sheets of aluminum foil (12 X 15 each).

Note: this recipe makes 5 salami rolls and is good as it is (no substitutes, please).


     1.    Break biscuits into ¼-inch squares.
     2.    Add walnuts and set aside.
3.       Beat eggs with sugar in a saucepan.
4.       Add butter.
5.       Put the saucepan on the stove and cook over medium-low heat.
6.       When the butter is almost melted, add cocoa, stirring constantly until thick.
7.       Remove from heat just before it starts boiling.
8.       Cool slightly.
9.       Add walnuts and biscuit squares and mix well all together.
10.   Divide the mixture into 5 equal piles.
11.   Put each pile on the aluminum foil sheet.
12.   Roll it tightly in a salami shape.
13.   Freeze immediately.

When it’s time to serve your dessert, unwrap the chocolate salami and cut it into pieces.  Take a nice plate, oval rather than round, cover it with a pretty napkin and put the slices of your chocolate salami on it, trying to keep the shape of a salami roll.


-          Take your chocolate salami out of the freezer an hour before serving and put it in the
refrigerator so it won’t be too hard to cut.
-          Make sure not to slice the roll too thin—it may break or crumble.


The Attitude Girl – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds
“Watch where you’re going, you dork,”  I hear suddenly from the right side.  It’s pretty-blond-but-really-dumb-and-mean Heather Stone, insulting a quiet, brilliant nerd, Norman Fixx, for accidently touching her shoulder with a food tray he’s carrying to his table.  “I’m sorry,” mumbles the always-so-polite Norman, “I didn’t mean it, honestly.  I’m so sorry.”  His apology apparently isn’t enough for Heather.  She’s out for blood.  “Listen, Bates, you psycho!” she continues to torture the poor guy.  “His name is Norman Fixx, not Norman Bates,” I yell from my seat.  “Leave him alone.  Didn’t he apologize?  Didn’t he say he was sorry?  What else do you want from him, his blood?”  “You shut up!  Who asked you?”  Heather shouts back and then narrows her eyes and asks, “Who are you, his mother?”  “Norman Fix-me-up, come here.  I want to talk to you,”  calls Ted “The Jaws” McAlly, Heather’s “bodyguard.”  “No, Norman Put-me-down sounds much better,” Heather declares and starts giggling.  Does she actually believe she’s being funny?  They all laugh.  All except for Nick and Brianna, that is.  Brianna Gold is the only one from that group I can tolerate.  And Nick…I look at him appreciatively.  He smiles at me and sends butterflies down my spine.  He’s so sexy, I feel a warm wave all over my body.  God, he’s gorgeous!  If looks could kill, I’d be a corpse right this moment.
‘I, Victoria Benson, a seventeen-year old high school senior, have an attitude problem.  Actually, I don’t have a problem with my attitude, but other people apparently do.’  Does it mean you have an attitude just because you want to defend one of the most nerdy boys in school?  Does it mean that you have an attitude just because you are mad at your mother after she loses her job and decides to take a sabbatical before even looking for another?  After all, what will I use for money when my 4 best friends and I decide to go on our weekly shopping spree?  Does it mean that you have an attitude when you find that your mother has found a ‘lump’ and things could get even worse than they already are?  Or when your OWN father left you when you were little and never came back?  Or when your OWN grandmother offers you money and your mother feels you shouldn’t take it?  Now tell me, why would these problems plus cause anyone to have an attitude?
While reading The Attitude Girl, I found myself wanting to agree with Vicky’s decisions as she tried to deal with her problems and disagreeing with the attitudes her best friends seemed to have toward her.  But then it hit me.  We are talking about 17 year old girls not an adults.  Their logic is totally different from mine.  Some of the pressures that were put on Vicky are some of the same pressures I can remember seeing and/or hearing about when I myself was a teenager showing me that some things never change. 
The Attitude Girl is a book that would be a beneficial read for all adults with pre-teen to teen age children as well as a beneficial read for the children themselves.  We can all learn a lot from this book.

The Attitude Girl is an 8 time award-winning book and after reading it I can see why.

321 pages
Five Star Publications
ISBN# 978-1-58985-155-9

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Legends of Tsalagee - Phil Truman, Author

Jo Lynn’s Rhubarb Pie (at Arlene’s Café)
(Also a Favorite dish of  Phil Truman)
1 Pie crust – double, 9”
4 C. cut rhubarb- ¾” (fresh rhubarb, 8 stalks; frozen, 24 oz.)
1 C. sugar
1/3 C. brown sugar
¼ tsp. salt
6 T. flour
¼ tsp. cinnamon
2 T. margarine
Line pie plate with half of the pastry dough. Combine other ingredients in a bowl and pour into pie shell, dotting top with margarine. Cover with a lattice or full top of pastry dough. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.

Legends of Tsalagee – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts

“One day I was out looking, as I did pretty regular back then.  It was in November.  A rainstorm had come through the night before and left it cold and damp.  The woods dripped, and dark thick clouds still filled the day.  Anyway, I was climbing up the side of this wooded hill.  My feet kept slipping on the thick fall of wet leaves, and I had to grab saplings as I went so’s not to slide down the hill.  All of a sudden, this feeling come over me that I was being watched, so I stopped and looked around.  Didn’t see a thing.  I then noticed how quiet it had gotten.  Now in November in the woods around here you don’t hear a lot anyway, but this was beyond that.  No birds, no wind, no nothing.  It was down right spooky.  And things just didn’t smell right.  I tell ya, I’ve done a fair amount of hunting in these woods, and when a bear or a cougar or bobcat came around, I knew it; even came up on a small pack of wolves once.  But this wasn’t like them times.  Something in the woods was watching me that day, and I had no idea what.  What I did know was that a little voice inside was yelling at me to skedaddle.  So that’s what I did, and I ain’t gone back to look for that treasure since.  Don’t really care about that sort of thing any longer, though.  I figure I’ve got all I need right here.  I wouldn’t know how to act if I’uz rich, anyway.”

In 1889, the famous outlaw Belle Starr was killed.  Rumor had it that she had a rather large stock of money and gold hidden, which had been acquired through her robberies, but where?  Her son Ed knew where it was stashed so after his mother was killed, he divided it between his sister and lit out before the law decided to pin the murder on him, of which he just might be guilty. Belle Starr lived - and died in Younger's Bend on the Canadian River, near the town of Eufaula, OK.  After her 'death' Ed decided to ride up further northeast into the Cherokee Nation where the town of Tsalagee is located.  There he met Ned Starr and settled down.  But in the back of his mind he still felt the law was looking for him.  He decided the best thing for him to do was to not spend any of his mother’s money but to hide it somewhere instead.  Thus, the legend of the Belle Starr Treasure took on its beginning.

It turns out that the Starr Treasure wasn’t the only legend floating around the area.  The Choctaw and the Cherokees had a legend of their own.  All the way back to 1850, the tribal stories of a large hairy man-beast roaming the woods and hills was passed on generation after generation.  The Choctaw called him “Hill Man Who Yells at Night” while the Cherokee called him “He Who Lives in the Hills” with the name later being shortened simply to “The Hill Man.”  They also believed that the Belle Starr treasure was cursed and protected by the Hill Man.  But of course, that didn’t stop many a man from striking out with the desire to find this famous treasure, town’s people included.

Once in a while I’ll read a book that simply hits me as being Great!  This is one of those books.  In the beginning you have your traditional murder prompted by greed giving the book a bit of “catch me if you can” but the more I read, the more I had to remind myself that there was a murder.  The characters are so down-to-earth, even the bad guys.  They are comical as well as serious.  Author Phil Truman has created characters that I will never forget.  He even has me believing in the “Hill Man.”  I couldn’t get enough of this book and really hated to have it end.  It left me wanting more!

Deadly Niche Press
ISBN #978-0-937660-95-9


Monday, September 5, 2011

Walking Through Walls - Karen Coiffi, Author

Lemon Drop Cookies
(A Wang Favorite)
Preheat oven to 375

1/3 cp. Milk                             2/3 cp. sugar
4 eggs                                      2 tsp. vanilla
4 tsp. baking powder              ½ cp. shortening (lightly melted butter)

Add enough flour to the above ingredients to make into a soft dough. Drop tablespoon sized portions onto a greased cookie sheet. When done, ice with confectioners sugar mixed with a little milk and lemon extract.

Walking Through Walls – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds

"Twelve-year-old Wang longed to be an Eternal.  He craved wealth…and power.  Spending his time learning about these mystics took his thoughts away from the certain fate of slaving in the wheat fields all his life, like his father. The wheat fields might be good for some, but not for Wang. He had higher goals."

Everyone should have high goals and work to reach them, as long as those goals don’t hurt others. Wang’s highest goal was to find where the Eternals lived and learn magic so he could have everything he wanted. He would use the magic he learned to take from the rich.  After all, they can afford to share so it wouldn’t be like stealing, would it?  He watched his father work in the wheat fields all his life and had even worked there himself, but he was determined to not make the fields his life too. 

Following Wang as he struggled to acquire the magical powers he always dreamed of made me think about all of the people in the world today who are just like Wang, who strive for riches.  Walking Through Walls is a book they should read; maybe it would help them see that riches, power and greed aren’t really that important. What counts is what you do with the powers within you as you use them to create good, not evil.

This is a great book that offers subtle morals for children as well as adults.

Publisher: 4RV Publishing, 2011
ISBN# 978-0-9826594-7-2
Genre: Middle-grade/YA fantasy adventure
Page count: 62

Amazon link:

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