October 30, 2009

The Friday Record - Western Words 5

The best laid plans....and all that. I had planned to have a historical blog for today, but I never got around to doing it. So, once again, I'm turning to WESTERN WORDS: A Dictionary of the Old West by Ramon F. Adams.

Just match the Numbers (words) to the Letters (definitions). Example: 15 X, 16 Y, 17, U Be sure to post your guesses, you'll be eligible to win my monthly prize – a Smart Women Read Romance t-shirt and three romance books: too good to be true by Kristan Higgins, The Cowboy's Second Chance by Christyne Butler and To Love a Scoundrel by Kristina Cook. This blog will be your last chance to enter to win for the month, so don't be shy about matching up the words to what they mean. Oh, and, one person who does post their guesses and leaves their email address, will win a Pink Ribbon goodie bag, full of Pink Ribbon items like a pen, calendar, rubber ducky and more.

1. Manada
2. Daunsy
3. In the brush
4. Roostered
5. Batch
6. Air-tights
7. Rawhide
8. Stood up
9. Notch in his tail
10. Yack

A. Said of a horse which has killed a man
B. Unmarried man
C. A stupid person
D. A weak cow
E. Moody, downcast
F. On the dodge, running from the law
G. Canned goods
H. Brood Mare
I. Robbed
J. Drunk

Anna Kathryn Lanier
3rd Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Event
October 1-31~Multiple Prizes to Win
FMI Contest page http://www.aklanier.com/

October 27, 2009

Wednesday's Chow - Wacky Cake

What if I told you that you could make a delicious, moist chocolate cake without any eggs or milk? Would you say I was being a bit wacky? I promise there’s no magic involved. Except perhaps in how quickly it disappears. It’s no trick, but certainly a delicious treat. Although you’d be right in calling it ‘wacky.’

Though if you’re looking for a little magic be sure to check out my Faery Rosette entitled THAT MAGIC MOMENT with The Wild Rose Press. My heroine, Celeste is caught cookin’ in the kitchen, but it’s not a recipe for a cake she’s preparing.

What’s that smoke from? Could it be from the sparks flying between Celeste and Dane? Well, I don’t want to spoil it…you’ll have to read it to find out.

Nothing goes better with a good story than some chocolate. Enjoy one of my family’s favorite recipes for Wacky Cake.

Leave a comment and you could win a copy of THAT MAGIC MOMENT and $5 Starbucks gift card.

Maureen Bonatch
Faery Rosette- The Wild Rose Press

Wacky Cake

2 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cocoa
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar

10 tablespoons melted margarine/butter
2 teaspoons vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups cold water

*Mix all together and bake at 350 degree 45-55 minutes- sides will start to pull away from the pan when done and can check with a toothpick.

~Awesome with powdered sugar sprinkled over the top or your favorite icing.


Can love cross the boundaries mortals have erected to reject all that cannot be explained? As the last witch in the Turner line, Celeste doesn’t know if she’s finally found true love or if her grandma cast a love spell to continue the Turner line. Dane Johns is a man not easily forgotten, but that’s exactly what Celeste plans to do. Because he has one big flaw. He’s a mortal.
Dane Johns doesn’t know it but he’s under a spell, and Celeste Turner is the cure. Mysteriously healing his injury while captivating his heart, Dane is enchanted. Although once he discovers Celeste’s secret he must decide if he’s charmed enough to not only accept love into his life, but the world of magic.

October 25, 2009

Rhodes Ends All Hallow's Eve Celebration

Welcome to Rhodes End’s Halloween where All Hallows’ Eve is celebrated on the Town Green.

Two churches bracketing the wide swath of grass like book-ends dispense orange and black decorated candy bags. The scents of cinnamon, burning candles and scorched pumpkin drift on the breeze. An owl hoots from a hollow tree in the ancient cemetery behind the church. The nearby streets are dark and empty in stark contrast to the noisy party-goers. No-one goes from house to house yelling Trick-or-Treat since an incident in 1943 that no one claims to remember.
A huge bonfire lights the night where excited children toast marshmallows donated by Nelson’s grocery store and parents drink heated apple cider from Styrofoam cups. Peter’s Pluckers’, a local blue-grass band is stomping out ‘Turkey in the Straw’ to loud clapping at the gazebo strung with bobbing skeletons and ghosts. Johnson’s Orchard donates huge tubs of shiny green Granny Smith’s for bobbing. The dripping faced kids hardly wait to be dried before running off to another game. Colorfully attired townsfolk escort laughing, excited children from event to event. Everyone wants to keep the little ones safe tonight.

Costumed or painted to reflect their own personality, every child is present except Mickey Burton. He has the measles. A few giddy teenagers who dared each other to climb the flat-topped boulder on Witch’s Rock Road, run onto the green shrieking. One shouts she saw a shape fly across the face of the rising full moon. Parents nod wisely and laugh. Kids!

The full moon rises as the evening wanes and the younger children are taken home, protesting through wide yawns. Parents cast uneasy glances into the shadows. Older children drift to the games and food offered inside the church halls. More and more are encouraged to return to the safety of home as the hour grows late.

The costumed crowd oddly thickens. The patrolling police cruiser stops to allow two witches, a werewolf and a ghoul to cross the street. Headlights pick out gleaming red eyes. A casual wave is exchanged.

Under the huge silver moon, the townsfolk circle the bonfire as midnight approaches. Thankfully, a full moon doesn’t occur every All Hallows’ Eve. The churches shoo the remaining families home, shut off the lights and lock their doors.

A few brave souls linger, nervously glancing over their shoulders. The air is electric with nerves, fear tickles. A dozen witches gather to one side. Shadows conceal details, but a gleaming fang or claw occasionally reflects the flames. Hair, hide and patchy skin conceal the wearers. Too many red eyes reflect the light.

A thick-set man wearing a knit cap feeds wood onto the fire and flames leap voraciously skyward. The crowd pulled back then surges closer. It’s almost midnight, the witching hour. The heavy wood-smoke mingles with a coppery smell of fresh blood and rotting flesh. Circles within the circle join hands and murmur. Not all are willing, but they must protect their secrets.

The Congregational church clock bongs, once, twice, and the flames explode up in a column of sparks. Three, four, five…chanting echoes across the Green. Six, seven, eight, nine… skeletal figures twist and turn, stretch clutching fingers from the seething flames, almost breaking free. Demons howl. Ghouls curse. Ten, eleven… the chants strengthen until they drown the unearthly noise. The threatening figures shudders with rage. Tonight is their night to walk free!


With a weary sigh, the fire shapes disappear. The fire dies. Only embers remain.

The crowd silently melts into the night leaving a few shivering adults to wonder what they just saw.

What's your favorite Halloween memory? Leave a comment (with your e-mail) for a chance to win Ancient Awakenings.

Barbara Edwards
Ancient Awakening, a Black Rose from The Wild Rose Press
http://barbaraedwards.net/blog/blog.asp for Barb'Ed Comments

In Ancient Awakening, Police Officer ‘Mel’ Petersen investigates a death only she believes is murder. By disobeying direct orders from the Rhodes End Chief, she risks her career to follow clues that twist in circles to her backyard and lead the killer to her.

Her neighbor Stephen Zoriak is a prime suspect. Steve worked for a major pharmaceutical company where he discovered a weapon so dangerous he destroys the research. He is exposed to the dangerous organism. He suspects he is the killer and agrees to help her find the truth.
In the course of their investigation Mel and Steve find the real killer and a love that defies death.

Help Feed the Hungry in America

Just watch this video by Kraft Foods and they'll donate food to Feeding America. It's that easy!

Anna Kathryn Lanier
3rd Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Event
October 1-31 ~ Multiple Prizes to Win
Check it out here: www.aklanier.com

October 24, 2009

Interviewed by Chris Redding

On Thursday, October 22nd, I was interviewed by Chris Redding on her blogspot. Please stop by and read it. I had to leave town that day for a Todd Stone workshop, so I was crunched for time and didn't it posted here then, but it's still up and you can still comment on it.

Anna Kathryn Lanier
3rd Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Event
October 1-31~Multiple Prizes to Win
FMI Contest page www.aklanier.com

October 20, 2009

Wednesday's Chow - Rich Autumn Pork Stew with Beer

Houston had a cold snap the last couple of days....it got down into the 50's, with a high in the 60's! That's big news for us. This recipe posted by Deidre Durance during last month's contest would have been perfect. The temperature is creeping back up now, into the 80's, but I know it'll turn cool again sometime and I'm going to get these ingredients to have on hand. I like fresh pork roasts, especially in cooler weather and I can't wait to try this.

Thanks for passing on the recipe, Deidre. You win a prize, since I used your recipe....okay, I still have to decide what the prize is, but I think it'll be a cookbook!

Rich Autumn Pork Stew with Beer

Makes 4 servings

2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut in 1 1/2-inch bits
Salt and pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
4 medium carrots, diced
2 medium apples, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
1 bay leaf
1 cup diced canned or fresh tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth (bouillon)
1 bottle (12 ounces) beer
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Cooked buttered egg noodle

1. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Heat 4 tablespoons oil in a heavy casserole over medium-high heat. Brown the pork well in batches. Remove to a bowl.

2. Wipe casserole clean and heat the remaining oil over low heat. Add onions, carrots, and apples. Stir until softened, 10 minutes, adding the garlic in the last 3 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients except noodles. Return pork and any juices to the casserole.

3. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, stirring, until the meat is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Discard bay leaf; adjust seasonings. Serve over egg noodles in shallow bowls.

This is rich and comforting this time of year.

Anna Kathryn Lanier
3rd Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Event
October 1-31~Multiple Prizes to Win
FMI Contest page http://www.aklanier.com/

October 19, 2009

Donkey Basketball

While I was writing Her Reluctant Rancher, I needed to find an unusual fundraiser for my heroine Beth, who was trying to raise money to build a library in her small West Texas town.  I wanted something different, and I remembered seeing a late-night sitcom where people were playing basketball on donkeys.  It’s similar to wheelchair basketball, except the players ride real live donkeys.  I googled donkey basketball and discovered that donkey basketball was actually a real fundraising business and voile! I had a great fundraiser for Beth’s pet project.

As I wrote and incorporated donkey basketball into the story, pieces started falling into place.  Character traits for my hero and heroine were revealed.  Organizing the event showed to what lengths Beth would go to raise money for the library.  By playing in the game, Trevor’s dislike of participating in team sports was highlighted.  And the donkey basketball game became a very important turning point in the story when Trev was injured and Beth discovered she was in love with him.

Writing is always an adventure.  I had a lot of fun with this story.  By choosing donkey basketball as Beth’s major fundraiser, key story points and character traits emerged just like magic.  If I had picked some other fundraiser, my story would probably have been very different.

Here’s an excerpt from Her Reluctant Rancher:

Trev followed Dave onto the court. He couldn’t
believe he was on the back of a donkey. He concentrated
on keeping his balance, because he sure didn’t want to fall
on his butt like the police chief.
He reminded himself he was doing this for Beth.
Maybe he could make a couple of baskets and score some
points. Would she cheer for him? Would she be proud?
Why did he care?
The announcer finished his pre-game spiel and the
mayor won the toss. He passed the ball to one of his team
mates. The councilman took it down court, passed it to
another player. Trev watched the guy twist, catch the
ball, then slide right off the donkey’s back. Ouch.
The ball was loose and Dave dismounted and grabbed
it. He dropped it twice before finally remounting.
Trev sidled up beside him.
Dave grinned. “You and me, buddy. Go deep. I’ll pass
it. Try for three points.”
“Not greedy, are we?”
“Hey, might as well go for it.”
Urging his donkey toward the goal, Trev successfully
stopped the animal on the three-point line. Then Dave
dropped the damn ball. Trev groaned. The priest retrieved
it and rode for the opposite goal. A nice toss and the padre scored. The band played a victory song and the crowd went wild.
Trev trotted over to Dave. “What was that?”
Dave shrugged. “I messed up. So sue me.”
“Strategy isn’t going to work in this game,” Trev said. “Next time, go for the points.”
“This is supposed to be a team effort, Callahan.”
“We’re on donkeys, for crying out loud.”
“It’s just a game, buddy.”
“Yeah, right.” Trev hated to lose.
On the next play, Trev saw a chance to score. He
stole the ball from the mayor and took it down the court.
Dave was up ahead. “Pass, Callahan. I’m wide open.
Pass the ball.”
Trev didn’t want to pass the ball. He wanted to score
the points. This was why he hated team sports. You had
to share the glory. Share the win. But there was no way
in hell he could take a shot. His way was blocked. Damn.
He passed the ball to Dave. His friend neatly avoided
two oncoming opponents and lobbed the ball. It swooshed
through the net and the crowd cheered.
Yes! Their team was winning. Trev was determined
to make the next goal. He jerked on the reins, trying to
get his donkey to turn around. The animal tossed its head
and stood still.
Trev tried again with no success. Was he going to
have to get off the damn animal and push him? This had
to be the craziest thing he’d ever done in his life. Who the hell had invented donkey basketball anyway? Whoever it
was, he ought to be—
Before he could finish the thought, Trev felt himself
flying over the donkey’s head. He hit the floor with a
painful thud and suddenly everything went black.    

Her Reluctant Rancher is available at The Wild Rose Press in paperback and digital format.

Anne Marie Novark

October 16, 2009

The California Gold Rush

In Make Flanagan's book IT'S ABOUT TIME: How Long History Took, he discusses the California Gold Rush, (pg. 124) which lasted 15 years, from 1849-64.
James Marshall was working for John Sutter with a crew of workers who were camped at Coloma on the American River. The men were building a saw mill and on January 24, 1849, James found a few gold nuggets. A few months later, John Bidwell found gold along the Feather River and Pearson B. Reading found gold in the Trinity River. On March 15th, “The San Francisco Californian” printed the first gold story. President Polk confirmed the discovery in December to Congress.

The following year, 30,000 true forty-niners came to California. By 1854, ten times that many, 300,000, had arrived to find their fortune as new veins and deposits were discovered.

California's Natural Resources site gives these other important gold rush dates:

In 1852, hydraulic mining began at American Hill just north of Nevada City and a Yankee Jims in Placer County.

In 1853, the first extensive underground mining of buried river channels commenced in the Forest Hill District, Placer County.

Also in 1853, the placers at Columbia, Tuolomne County, began to yield vast amounts of gold. This continued until the early 1860s. At that time, Columbia was one of the largest cities in the state.

A partial exodus of miners took place in 1853 when gold was discovered on the Fraser River in British Columbia.

In 1854, a 195-pound mass of gold, the largest known to have been discovered in California, was found at Carson Hill in Calaveras County.

By 1855, the rich surface placers were largely exhausted, and river mining accounted for much of the state's output until the early 1860s.

In 1859, the famous 54-pound Willard nugget was found at Magalia in Butte County.

By 1864, California's gold rush had ended. The rich surface and river placers were largely exhausted; hydraulic mines were the chief sources of gold for the next 20 years.

The all time high year of production was 1852, when more than $81 million of gold was produced.

It was the dream of hitting it rich that drove so many people west. Miners often spent six months' salary just getting to California. Though it was possible to find $2,000 of gold in one day, a miner was lucky to pan $10 a day. It was the possibility of the rich strike which drove up the prices of every day commodities.

Kidport Reference Library gives the following prices:

Delano's "Life on the Plains and at the Diggings," gives the following as the prices paid at Lassen's Ranch, on September 17, 1849:

Flour, per 100 pounds .......... $50.00
Fresh beef, per 100 pounds .......... 35.00
Pork, .......... 75.00
Sugar, .......... 50.00
Cheese, per pound .......... 1.50

H. A. Harrison, in a letter to the "Baltimore Clipper," dated San Francisco, February 3, 1849, gives the following price-list:

Beef, per quarter .......... $20.00
Fresh Pork, per pound .......... .25
Butter, per pound .......... 1.00
Cheese, per pound .......... 1.00
Ham, per pound .......... 1.00
Flour, per barrel .......... 18.00
Pork, per barrel .......... $35 to 40.00
Coffee, per pound .......... .16
Rice, per pound .......... .10
Teas, per pound .......... .60 cents to 1.00
Board, per week .......... 12.00
Labor, per day .......... $6 to 10.00
Wood, per cord .......... 20.00
Brick, per thousand .......... $50 to 80.00
Lumber, per thousand .......... 150.00

William D. Wilson, writing to the "St. Joseph Valley Register," on February 21, 1849, gives the following schedule of prices at Sutter's Fort:

Flour, per barrel .......... $30 to $40.00
Salt Pork, per barrel .......... 110 to 150.00
Salt Beef, .......... 45 to 75.00
Molasses,.......... 30 to 40.00
Salt Salmon .......... 40 to 50.00
Beans, per pound .......... .20
Potatoes, .......... .14
Coffee, .......... 20 cents to .33
Sugar, .......... 20 cents to .30
Rice, .......... 20 cents to .30
Boots, per pair .......... $20 to 25.00
Shoes,.......... 3 to 12.00
Blankets .......... 40 to 100.00
Transportation by river from San Francisco to Sacramento, he says, was $6 per one hundred pounds. From Sacramento to the mines by team at the rate of $10 for every twenty-five miles.

“The rush to the diggings produced a handful of millionaires and many more broken hearts.”


October 14, 2009

Wednesday's Chow - Asparagus Parmesan Au Gratin

This being the second week of the month, today's recipe is a side-dish and was posted during last month's recipe extravaganza by Paisley Kirkpatrick, so she wins the prize for having her recipe posted as a weekly post.

I didn't like asparagus as a youngster, but have learned to enjoy it as a grown-up. Usually, I steam fresh asparagus or heat the canned stuff, then melt cheddar cheese on it. This looks like a nicer way of serving it and I'll give a try soon, as I think it would make a great addition to a Sunday family dinner.


1 ½ cups (3 oz) French’s original or cheddar French fried onions
1 ½ pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed and peeled if thick
1 (10 ¾ oz) Campbell’s Cream of Celery Soup
½ cup half ‘n’ half cream or milk
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Crush French Fried Onions in plastic bag with hands or rolling pin.
Cook asparagus in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain well.
Mix soup, cream, Parmesan cheese and mustard. Pour half the sauce into greased 1 ½ quart baking dish. Arrange asparagus on top of sauce. Spoon remaining sauce over asparagus.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until hot. Top with crushed onions. Bake 5 minutes until golden and crispy.

October 9, 2009

The Friday Record - The Trial of the Pig

For today's blog, I'm turning back to Michael Powell's book CURIOUS EVENTS IN HISTORY, which I've talked about before. It's a small book, but it's chockful of interesting historical events. "The Trial of the Pig," page 40, is about more than just one event. It's about several that took place during The Middle Ages, the prosecution of animals for, well, acting like animals. Powell explains that "Humans were trying to work out their place in God's scheme and were uncertain about the roles of animal," pg. 42. They would put the animals on trails to help "exert control over the uncertainties of life and symbolically restore order to their chaotic world," pg. 42.

Animals and insects were often brought before ecclesiastical and secular courts, with their lawyers, on charges ranging from criminal damage to murder.

Examples of such trials are:

* In 1494 a pig was charged with attacking a child and killing it. Jehan Levoisier, the judge, found the pig guilty and sentenced it to be "hanged and strangled on a gibbet of wood."

* In 1750 a she-ass was charged with coition with her human owner. She was acquitted because of her previous good conduct.

* In the 1500's "some rats" were charged with "feloniously and wantonly" eating and destroying a barley crop.

Powell says that Edward Paysons Evans's 1906 book THE CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND CAPITAL PUNISHMENT OF ANIMALS is the "definitive book about this phenomenon." In it, Evans gives accounts of cases brought against dolphins, cows and goats.

When found guilty, the animals were often dressed as humans and then executed.

Have you come across an unusual trial during your research or in a book?

Anna Kathryn Lanier
3rd Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Event
October 1-31~Multiple Prizes to Win

FMI Contest page http://www.aklanier.com/

October 6, 2009

Wednesday's Chow - Cucumber Salad

Last month, I hosted a recipe extravaganza....asking commenter's to post their own recipes each week. Now, I'll start posting some of those recipes during my weekly Wednesday's Chow blog. The first week of the month, I'll post appetizers. This one comes from SiNn. I used to work in a sandwich shop that had a cucumber salad. This recipe looks very similar to that one, which I loved.

Cucumber Salad

4 to 6 fresh cucumbers depending on how much you want to make
3 or 4 cups of milk
Add salt to taste
3 teaspoons of vinegar
2 tablespoons of sugar

Garnish with green peppers and onions. Chill till cold and serve.


For my monthly commenter blog prize, I'll give away a Smart Women Read Romance T-shirt and three romance novels....just to prove how smart you really are! too good to be true by Kristan Higgins, The Cowboy's Second Chance by Christyne Butler and To Love a Scoundrel by Kristina Cook. (okay, I pulled the books by random...the similar first tames are by chance.) Oh, I'll probably throw in one of my stories, too! To be eligible to win this prize package, just leave comments on the posts. The more you comment, the more chances to win.

On my website during the month of October is information on two contests: my monthly guest book contest and the Annual October BREAST CANCER AWARENESS Event. Prizes for both contests will be Pink Ribbon Goodie Bags. Stop by my website and learn how to enter these contests.

Anna Kathryn Laneir

October 5, 2009

From Contract to Publication

Last year, the end of October, I signed a contract with 4RV Publishing, LLC, to publish my middle grade urban fantasy. As you might imagine, I was whooping and hollerin’ it up! At last!

Since that time, my book has undergone several edits, both full and partial, and I’ve had to wait patiently (okay, sometimes impatiently) for things to happen, i.e. making the suggested changes by the editing staff, waiting for the publisher to buy the ISBN numbers, and whatever organizational things they needed to do on their end. I am glad to say that the long wait is almost over. The book is almost to the layout folks, and I should have a finished copy in my hot little hands soon!

I would like to say that during the wait that I’ve written and edited another book, but alas, that is not the case. Have I just been playing around? No, far from it. The publication of the book necessitated I do certain things on my end to prepare for the marketing and promotional aspects of the book.

I had to research and create a media kit. I took a crash course in marketing (a must buy is Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s book, The Frugal Book Promoter), looking for all the information I could get. In addition to the media kit, I created both a blog and website, joined numerous social networking groups and joined groups related to the topic of my book. Much to my dismay, for each group that I joined, I had to figure out how to use their particular site builder, create a profile and so forth, and remain a contributing member to that site. More learning. I have also guest posted on other’s blogs, been interviewed on other’s blogs and been interviewed on the radio.

Fortunately, with my next book, a lot of this stuff won’t have to be repeated. I’ll already have the website, the blog, and so on, but I will still have to post regularly, and keep my website updated.

Lest you think I’m being lazy, I am involved in writing several more books. A little here, a little there, and they slowly get done. I have attended a couple of writing conferences, which were outstanding, and great for networking. I learned a lot.

Speaking of learning, for me, research for my books is an ongoing process. Just when I think I’ve researched my subject to death, I run across another book, another website, that has “just” the information I need to add depth and richness to my book. Fortunately, I really like the research aspect.

So if you think signing the contract is an “end all” proposition, you’ll soon find out that isn’t the case. There is more hard work ahead, but it is manageable, and eventually, you find yourself at the end game, for that book, and before you know it, you’ll be selling your books!

Katie Hines
Children's Author
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Katie-Hines/1442953493
Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/katiehines

October 1, 2009

Breast Cancer Awareness Annual Campaign

For the third year in a row, I'm joining several other authors in an annual Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign. Each author will post Breast Cancer Awareness items on their website or blog and give away prizes.

I'll give a grand prize as well as several Pink Ribbon Goodie Bags throughout the month. Those who enter for the grand prize will be eligible for the goodie bags, as well as anyone who posts a comment on my blog during the month of October. I'll periodically choose a winner for a Pink Ribbon Goodie Bag, so comment often.

Click here for full details on the contest and to see who else is participating.
Anna Kathryn Lanier