Child of Desire Website

During the month of November, things came together very quickly with relationship to the release and distribution of my new novel, Child of Desire. The release date for the novel was November eighth and the final media piece, my website, is now in place. Tate Publishing web designer, Kammi Kunkel, has a keen eye for design and is very much into detail. My thanks to Kammi for an outstanding website.

Visit my website at:  www.childofdesire.com



It seems that no matter how many my wonderful seasonal accomplishments, my friends make my contributions to the spirit of Christmas seem paltry.

The one Christmas tree I decorate in our great room looks pretty, quite pretty, in my opinion. But being on Facebook has caused me to realize that I’m not contributing enough by way of making the holiday season merry and bright.

Five trees? Seriously? That many trees in our space would mean one for each room. With that many trees, we might just have to book a hotel for the season and let the trees take over our home.  

I do have collections that I put out. Maybe they can count for at least one tree: Simpich Carolers, four Nativity sets, Nutcrackers, and Byers Salvation Army and Nutcracker Carolers.

It’s a big deal in our household if sometime during the Christmas season I manage to make one recipe of chocolate fudge with walnuts, one recipe of divinity with pecans, a few pretzels dipped in chocolate (two kinds of chocolate if I’m feeling ambitious) and, during a very good season, one batch of Christmas Frances.

Imagine how mediocre my efforts at candy making seemed after reading the following post by a Facebook friend (and former student at MidAmerica Nazarene University): OK.....so I made 178 chocolate-covered cherries yesterday (yes, you heard that correctly), along with helping to make 90 turtles, 90 caramels, 120+ chocolate centered candies and nearly 200 peppermint patties. I think I have a candy-making hangover today. However, it was a very productive day, and we are that much closer to ready to pack them all when we start back into things on Friday this week. Such fun, such fun.”

Sharon Cage Lockard, the lucky people on your Christmas list will enjoy your efforts! Maybe you should start a candy making business. Or not!  I’m sure your students would not agree to having any one else as their teacher.

(And just thinking about changing out the bedspreads and curtains every season makes me tired. So, I don’t even want to go there, but I do admire my wonderful friends who have the energy to always be in season.)

Byers Salvation Army Carolers – in honor of our son and daughter-in-law, Merrill and Nancy Powers, officers in the Salvation Army. This year their center will provide Christmas dinner for around 1500 needy people.


Thinking Precedes Sending

When email was first used at my workplace, I would sometimes receive messages that ended, “If you don’t receive this message, please let me know.” But that was quite some time ago and it has been several years since I’ve read that closing line in a message.
During the recent devastating snowstorm in the Northeast, I was reminded of those early email messages when my sister, Ilene, forwarded to me one of the daily updates she received from her electric company. She was one of the lucky ones. She only lost power for about twenty-four hours. Some households were without power for many days.
Imagine what you might have said when, after days without power, you opened your email to the following “Important Safety Messages” sent to you by the concerned staff at your electric company.
  • “Downed wires should always be considered "live."  STAY AWAY FROM ALL DOWNED LINES.  Do not approach or drive over a downed line and do not touch anything with which it might be in contact.  To report a downed wire or other visible equipment damage, call 1-800 ... . Provide the street as well as the nearest cross street.
  • Check on the safety of your elderly neighbors.  See if they are safe and if they need extra blankets or other help.  Contact local officials if assistance is needed.
  • Do not try to use a gas oven or range to heat a room. The appliance will deplete oxygen from the air, causing asphyxiation or deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Be cautious if using space heaters.  Read and follow the manufacturer's instructions and heed warning labels.  Be sure all members of the household understand how to operate space heaters safely.”
It was sweet that those electric company people had the best interests of their customers at heart. Really very sweet!  And, if the customers weren’t asphyxiated by gas ranges and didn’t burn down their homes with space heaters (electric?), probably many got a laugh at the expense of those who wrote the thoughtful daily updates and then had senior moments before pressing “send.”

But those Northeasterners aren’t the only ones who have apparent lapses of memory when sending messages to people who have lost power. High winds in our state over the last few days have caused severe damage and loss of power in some areas. While searching the internet yesterday, this message came up on the local TV station feed I have on my computer.
“Just got off the phone with Custer County Sheriff. He says there is a lot of damage west of Westcliffe. Could be about 75 downed power poles. He says some homes may not get power back for a couple of days. So, if you don’t have power by tonight, you might want to start making some plans.”
Okey-dokey, the next time I lose power, I’ll try “making some plans” while running around the neighborhood checking to see if anyone needs blankets. I’ll just pray that I don’t step on one of those downed electric lines.


Don’t Mess With My Autumn Food

During autumn recorded messages that fill my head start to play back to me. These recordings contain information regarding right and wrong. Not only do they dictate how Halloween and Thanksgiving should be done and how my home should be decorated, they also dictate recipes for foods and drinks that produce aromas and tastes guaranteed to help me make the transition from summer to fall.

Since I now have time in my life to read magazines, I’ve discovered that there are a lot of food editors out there messing with traditional fall recipes. The November issues of the three publications (yes, three) that currently occupy my magazine rack are filled with examples of recipes that put new spins on my old favorites. 

Apple cider is a drink that, in my opinion, can’t be improved. Heat, pour in mug, curl up, read a book, sip cider, enjoy. How hard is that? But now, in order to “get in the winter spirit,” I apparently need to add ingredients such as hibiscus tea, allspice, cloves, cinnamon sticks, bourbon, orange juice, sugar, pear nectar, honey, brandy, and club soda to my cider.

Hot chocolate has always been a quick and easy warm drink. Right? Wrong! Imagine my surprise when I discovered that hot chocolate needs ingredients other than cocoa powder, sugar, milk, and marshmallows. Modern hot chocolate recipes call for ingredients such as: chocolate bars (both semi-sweet and white), chocolate chips, chili powder, cinnamon, vanilla, maple flavoring, crushed candy canes, instant coffee, butter, eggs, sweetened condensed milk, and whipped cream. I've decided I might be too tired or too old to make modern versions of hot chocolate.

What else might be wrong with modernized favorite fall recipes you might ask – or not. So I’ll pose some questions of my own here. Why would I add:
  • pureed sweet potatoes or pumpkin to cheesecake?
  • bourbon to pecan pie?
  • blackberries to apple pie?
  • port or jalapeño peppers to cranberry sauce?
  • carrots to my sweet potato casserole?
  • asparagus to my broccoli casserole?

No wonder recipes call for various kinds of “spirits.”  The cook needs a bottle to tip occasionally in order to deal with all of these messed-up recipes!