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Posts Tagged ‘A Chance at the Moon’

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Linda Lee Greene, Author/Artist who brings us her recipe for Baba au Rhum cake

Jill: “How are workers expected to survive on minimum wage when every dollar goes toward their rent?”

Jack: “What do I care? Let them eat cake.”

Jack: “Our budget shows that every one of our managers will get an end-of-year bonus.” Jill: “What about the rest of the employees?”

Jack: “Such is life. Let them eat cake.”

Marie Antoinette, queen of France in the years before and during the French Revolution, to whom the idiom is famously attributed, never said, “Let them eat cake” in response to being informed that her starving peasant subjects had no bread to eat. It got stuck to her through time because she was the epitome of indifference and insensitivity among the ruling and upper classes toward the realities of life of ordinary people. This type of obliviousness of their own advantages and numbness to the misfortunes of working-class people on the part of the privileged is a feature of all of human history, unfortunately.

While Antoinette’s head was being lopped off by the guillotine at the Place de la Concorde, a major public square in Paris, plantation slaves in the Caribbean were fermenting molasses, a by-product of the sugar refining process, into alcohol. Distillation of the by-products concentrated the alcohol and removed some impurities, which produced the first modern rums. It didn’t take long for rum to find its way to delectable French pastry and voilà—the soggy, boozy, classic French dessert, Baba au Rhum cake was born in Paris—too late for Antoinette, who would have relished it, no doubt, but just in time for us to delight our guests with it at any special get-together.

The cake recipe was created by David Tanis and yields a dozen babas. The frosting is from a cookbook by Shelia Del Guercio that is now out of print. The beauty for busy cooks is that a small, unsoaked portion, or all of them, can be stored away in the freezer for up to two months. A day before their debut on your table, defrost and then keep them in an airtight container. If yours is a big and/or a really hungry crowd, bake up several batches ahead of time and freeze them. For best results, you need a tender and sticky dough, so be sparing in the amount of flour you incorporate into the mixture. Or, place the dough in the refrigerator for a while, because cold dough is easier to handle.

BABA AU RHUM

2 tbsp. active dry yeast

3 tbsp. granulated sugar

¼ cup lukewarm water

4 large beaten eggs

1 pinch sea salt

½ cup (113 grams/1 stick) softened unsalted butter

2 cups (256 grams) all-purpose flour

½ cup (80 grams) golden raisins

½ cup water

Butter for baking tins

Flour for dusting

Place yeast and sugar in a medium-size bowl. Add water and then stir until dry ingredients are dissolved. Set aside for 10 minutes or until mixture is bubbly. Whisk eggs and sea salt into yeast mixture.

Soak raisins in water while you prepare complete the next step. In a separate medium-size bowl, work together butter and flour until the mixture resembles wet sand.

Drain raisins then add to egg-yeast mixture. Whip with a wooden spoon to a soft, sticky dough, or prepare dough in a standing mixer. Cover bowl and set in a warm place about 1 hour or until dough doubles in size.

Butter 2 mini-muffin tins or 12 mini-ramekins. Uncover dough, dust with flour, and turn it out to a clean work surface. Add flour as necessary to make dough manageable and knead lightly to a large, slightly sticky ball. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces (about 2 ounces/55 grams). Dust the pieces with flour, roll into separate balls, and place in the muffin tins or ramekins. Cover loosely and set in a warm place for about 30 minutes or until the balls double in size.

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Bake babas 15 to 20 minutes until lightly brown on top. Turn babas out of their molds and onto a baking sheet. Return to oven for 5 minutes to brown all over. Remove from oven and cover the babas with a clean towel to keep them soft. Store cooled babas in an airtight container at room temperature if making in advance of imminent serving.

TOPPING

2 pints strawberries, setting aside 12 strawberries

3 tbsp. Cointreau, 3 tbsp. Cognac, 1 tbsp. Grand Marnier

2 cups whipped cream

1 pint coffee ice cream

Meanwhile, clean and hull the strawberries, setting aside 12 of them. Place the rest of the strawberries in a bowl and pour over them all of the designated liqueurs. Stir gently and let sit for 1 hour. Then fold into the mixture with a rubber spatula the whipped cream and ice cream. For each guest, cut 1 baba in half horizontally and place on a dessert plate. Top with an additional scoop of coffee ice cream, the strawberry/liquor mixture, and crown with a whole strawberry.

Or substitute the ice cream with a dollop of whipped cream and a strawberry on top.

Readers were introduced to American Nicholas Plato in multi-award-winning author Linda Lee Greene’s A Chance at the Moon, which was published in 2019 and is available on Amazon.

Greene takes readers on yet another adventure of Nicholas’ whirlwind life in her Garden of the Spirits of the Pots, A Spiritual Odyssey. In this sequel, Nicholas shows up in Sydney, Australia. The principle plotline unfolds as on one Saturday of sightseeing he gets lost in Australia’s forbidding yet alluring outback, and there he happens upon a pintsized hut on a lonely plot littered with hundreds of clay pots of every size and description. Driven by a deathly thirst, he stops. A strange little brown man materializes out of nowhere and introduces himself merely as ‘Potter’ and welcomes Nicholas to his ‘Garden of the Spirits of the Pots.’ Although Nicholas has never laid eyes on Potter, the man seems to have expected Nicholas at his bizarre habitation and displays knowledge about him that nobody has any right to possess. Just who is this mysterious Aboriginal potter?

Although they are as mismatched as two persons can be, a strangely inevitable friendship takes hold between them. It is a relationship that can only be directed by an unseen hand bent on setting Nicholas on a mystifying voyage of self-discovery and Potter on revelations of universal certainties.

A blend of visionary and inspirational fiction with a touch of romance, this is a tale of Nicholas’ journey into parts unknown, both within his adopted home and himself, a quest that in the end leads him to his true purpose for living.

Garden of the Spirits of the Pots is available in eBook and/or paperback on Amazon.

AMAZON BUY LINK

Multi-award-winning author and artist Linda Lee Greene describes her life as a telescope that when trained on her past reveals how each piece of it, whether good or bad or in-between, was necessary in the unfoldment of her fine art and literary paths.

Greene moved from farm-girl to city-girl; dance instructor to wife, mother, and homemaker; divorcee to single-working-mom and adult-college-student; and interior designer to multi-award-winning artist and author, essayist, and blogger. It was decades of challenging life experiences and debilitating, chronic illness that gave birth to her dormant flair for art and writing. Greene was three days shy of her fifty-seventh birthday when her creative spirit took a hold of her.

She found her way to her lonely easel soon thereafter. Since then Greene has accepted commissions and displayed her artwork in shows and galleries in and around the USA. She is also a member of artist and writer associations.

Visit Linda on her blog and join her on Facebook.

Read Full Post »

Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Christmas Traditions

by

Linda Lee Greene, Author/Artist.

How much easier it would be for me to fulfill a commission to write an article titled ‘Christmas Around the World,’ if I were actually free to travel, but I do not have that freedom for various reasons. Therefore, I call on my crafty Muse to settle on my shoulder and whisper in my ear an imaginary tale of travel, one in which I call on a number of women in faraway places, each of whom is immersed in high holiday celebrations unique to her culture. I am giddy over the prospect of beginning my make-believe trip with my Muse depositing me smack-dab in the presence of a Native American sister.

Seven Sisters acrylic painting by Linda Lee Greene

Paulette welcomes me into her kitchen and then very graciously explains that embracing the Christian tradition is a thorny issue for many of her people given the injustices that America’s indigenous people have faced under white domination, both in the past and the present. Even so, the good spirit of the season permeates her culture in admirable ways. “You showed up just in time to catch me before I leave for a meeting of the Partnership with Native Americans (PWNA),” Paulette informs me. Responding to the quizzical look on my face, she continues. “We spread holiday cheer in the way of blankets, nutrition and education services, medical screenings, and more to over 30,000 of our Elders, children, and families in approximately 110 reservation communities here in the Northern Plains and the Southwest. Winter is brutal in these reservations and rural communities, and we work hard to come together in the spirit of giving at this special time.” Upon making my exit into a frozen morning, I drop a couple of Andrew Jacksons into Paulette’s PWNA donation basket and cringe at the gruesome symbolism of that particular face being imprinted on those U. S. $20.00 bills.

I suppose my Muse took pity on me and decided to thaw me out, because in the blink of an eye, I am stretched out on the blinding sand of a beach in Melbourne, Australia. I am clad in a bathing suit, and the unmistakable aroma of seafood sizzling on a grill within smelling distance floods my mouth with saliva. Jingle Bells, the jolly Christmas song, rings out from an electronic device. The incongruity is not lost on me as I push to my feet to the greeting of a scantily-clad blonde goddess waving a barbecue fork in her hand. “We thought you were dead to the world, myte,” she says to me. “Come on and git yerself a plyte. It’s prawns on the barbie, stryght from Dad’s boat this mornin’.” Kathryn is the name of this supernatural being, and she is only one of many just like her in her large circle of beach party buddies. Someone thrusts a frosty bottle of beer in my hand and I recoup my senses enough to inquire, “Jingle Bells?” “What else?” Kathryn replies. “It’s Christmas! Eat up! Drink up! The day is jist gittin’ started. You don’t want to miss Carols by Candlelight tonight.” “Carols by Candlelight?” “Yeh, you know! The big charity evint to help out the needy in the community.” To get in the spirit of things, I chug the cold beer and pretend the hot white sand squishing between my bare toes is bone-chilling snow.

A strong scent reminiscent of home that I am powerless to resist lures me away from summertime Melbourne to a cozy dining room in Tokyo, Japan. A table laden with buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken is occupied on all sides by a young Japanese family comprised of a mother, father, and two children. Apparently, I am the only dinner guest at what Aimi, the lovely mother, explains to me is their “hidden Christmas”. While the stigma of what in Japan is mainly a secular event is dissipating thanks to ubiquitous Western influences wrought through television and social media, influences such as America’s KFC as the food of choice for Christmas Day in Japan, still many people whose leanings remain Shinto or Buddhism, observe the day on the quiet. “It ruffles fewer feathers that way,” an otherwise very Japanese Aimi tells me in ironical American terminology.

Muse is anxious to send me further into my whirlwind tour, and next, and for a minute or two, I wonder if Muse has time-slipped me back to America’s Old West as the gentle steed on whose back I ride trots me beneath a wide, wood archway that spans an opening in split-rail fencing on both sides. The fencing wanders and then evaporates into what appears a boundless, misty landscape. A carved sign in wood at the crest of the archway proclaims, “LET’S GO GREEN!” And then I know I am in current time, the ominous Climate Change time that does not withdraw to a voiceless corner even on Christmas Day. Great plumes of crystalized breath billow from the nostrils of the horse, and my own frosty breath hazes the lenses of my spectacles. I am in cold, cold country—not quite to the Arctic plain, but close enough, I am pretty sure. No level treeless tundra is this, though, for there are evergreen trees, evergreen trees upon evergreen trees as far as the eye can see, planted in deliberate, neat and regimental rows, like line upon line of locked-arm chorus girls frocked in frilly green. Donned in blue-jeans and a fleece-layered black-and-red-plaid flannel shirt, a Paul Bunyan-like figure materializes out of nowhere suddenly. “Welcome to Saskatchewan’s Evergreen Tree Farm. We’ve been expecting you. I’m Anne,” this burly Canadian female greets me. “You look like you need a warm-up. Come on up to the house. There’s a rum and brandy hot toddy there with your name on it.”

A profusion of Christmas decorations, evergreen garlands, and twinkling lights at every door, window, and eave forms an almost impenetrable obstacle course to the entrance of the place. In the wake of my hostess, I step across the threshold and enter a winter wonderland, a plethora of all things Christmas. A steaming mug of the hot toddy beckons me to the table upon which it rests, and on the stovetop, the valve on the lid of a pressure cooker dances up and down. The aroma emitting from it is heavenly. “Have you ever had frontier bison stew?” Anne asks me. My stomach drops to my toes and I shake my head. I feel my enthusiasm wilt to a point of no return. I am not so sure my belly is ready for frontier bison stew. “I thought bison was an endangered species,” I state, my mouth going desert-dry in my unease. “Our First Nation people have taken the herds in hand and are bringing the numbers back to almost double now,” Anne explains. “The grazing habits of the herds are also reestablishing the indigenous grasses that are much better carbon capturers than non-native plant-life that was introduced in colonial times. With their bison and my trees, the First Nation people and I are working hard to do right by Mother Nature.”

Don’t get me wrong. My gratitude for all of Anne’s hospitality is as mammoth as the woman herself. This big-hearted female had a hot toddy waiting to warm my icy bones. And it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if she had grabbed that bison by its horns in her immense lumberjack hands and wrestled it to the ground all by herself, and then saw to all further machinations to get it into her pressure cooker just in time for my arrival at her tree farm this Christmas Day. And while I also appreciate all the laudable environmentalism, suffice to say that my main motivator at the moment is finding a gracious way of sidestepping Anne’s looming offer of a bowl of that bison stew. I send a private, silent message to my Muse that I am ready to move on to the next spot on my journey. Muse hears my plea and at mach-speed, I turn up in Jerusalem of all places, which I am to learn is planet Earth’s ‘City of Three Christmases’.

While terrorists are wiping out Christians far and wide in the Middle East, the Jewish state of Israel is the one place in the area in which Christians can practice their religion freely. Their number is small: only about 2.5% of the total Israeli population, but Christmas celebrations are large. I meet up with Susan in a library on an outskirt of Jerusalem. She leads me to a table on which lays an enormous tome. She invites me to sit next to her, and she opens the book and I follow along as she spins an intriguing and complex story of Christmas in Jerusalem, the index finger of her right hand tracing the lines on the pages like a sightless person reading braille. Now and then, her head lowers to within mere inches of the book for a closer look at the ancient, fading text, and a crucifix suspended from a silver chain around her neck drops forward and drags across the pages. It seems a confirmation, of sorts.

Christmas on Mithoff Street watercolor painting by Linda Lee Greene

“The Christmas story took place in Israel,” Susan reminds me. “But through the centuries, and for a variety of reasons, the different factions of Christians have not come to a meeting of minds on the actual date of the birth of Jesus. So you see, Christmas in Jerusalem is not a one-day affair. Roman Catholic and Protestant Christians celebrate the day on December 25th. Orthodox Christians do so on January 6th, and Armenian Christians on January 18th.” Susan implores me to stick around and partake of an array of dazzling festivities commemorating the holiday, but by this time, I am more than ready for crisp air and fluffy snow and a bona-fide traditional Christmas as I recognize it to be—a Midwest America Christmas of time spent with family and friends, of sharing food and memories, of gift-giving and receiving amid the ambience of a gorgeously adorned Christmas tree and sparkly mantel and tabletops aglow in candlelight. As ever, my Muse reads me and transports me back to my home.

My wise Muse arranges my return trip to be a bit slower than my arrivals had been, to give me time to reflect on all I had experienced. The impression most indelible in my memory is the evidence of Creator’s handiwork in those places, of the sights and sounds and aromas, and in the people and their talismans for good such as Paulette’s donation basket, Kathryn’s barbecue fork, Aimi’s KFC bucket, Anne’s trees, and Susan’s crucifix. And I wonder now, what’s in store for me on my next go around!?

Readers were introduced to American Nicholas Plato in multi-award-winning author Linda Lee Greene’s A Chance at the Moon, which was published in 2019 and is available on Amazon.

Greene takes readers on yet another adventure of Nicholas’ whirlwind life in her Garden of the Spirits of the Pots, A Spiritual Odyssey. In this sequel, Nicholas shows up in Sydney, Australia. The principle plotline unfolds as on one Saturday of sightseeing he gets lost in Australia’s forbidding yet alluring outback, and there he happens upon a pintsized hut on a lonely plot littered with hundreds of clay pots of every size and description. Driven by a deathly thirst, he stops. A strange little brown man materializes out of nowhere and introduces himself merely as ‘Potter’ and welcomes Nicholas to his ‘Garden of the Spirits of the Pots.’ Although Nicholas has never laid eyes on Potter, the man seems to have expected Nicholas at his bizarre habitation and displays knowledge about him that nobody has any right to possess. Just who is this mysterious Aboriginal potter?

Although they are as mismatched as two persons can be, a strangely inevitable friendship takes hold between them. It is a relationship that can only be directed by an unseen hand bent on setting Nicholas on a mystifying voyage of self-discovery and Potter on revelations of universal certainties.

A blend of visionary and inspirational fiction with a touch of romance, this is a tale of Nicholas’ journey into parts unknown, both within his adopted home and himself, a quest that in the end leads him to his true purpose for living.

Garden of the Spirits of the Pots is available in eBook and/or paperback on Amazon.

Multi-award-winning author and artist Linda Lee Greene describes her life as a telescope that when trained on her past reveals how each piece of it, whether good or bad or in-between, was necessary in the unfoldment of her fine art and literary paths.

Greene moved from farm-girl to city-girl; dance instructor to wife, mother, and homemaker; divorcee to single-working-mom and adult-college-student; and interior designer to multi-award-winning artist and author, essayist, and blogger. It was decades of challenging life experiences and debilitating, chronic illness that gave birth to her dormant flair for art and writing. Greene was three days shy of her fifty-seventh birthday when her creative spirit took a hold of her.

She found her way to her lonely easel soon thereafter. Since then Greene has accepted commissions and displayed her artwork in shows and galleries in and around the USA. She is also a member of artist and writer associations.

Visit Linda on her blog and join her on Facebook.

Read Full Post »

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Author and Artist Linda Lee Greene who brings us her recipe for Blueberry-Blackberry Cobbler.

At my advanced age, a ‘mushy’ bottom pretty much comes with the territory. But to save your baked-goods from the same fate, there is a little trick you can use as a deterrent. Keep reading to find it.

Several months ago, I learned that victims of thyroid disorder, which I have been since the age of 16, should adopt a gluten-free diet. Carbs are also a problem for me. I looked around for a nutrition plan that would best suit my needs. I found it in the Keto Diet. A side benefit is that I am losing weight on this easy diet plan. Now when I look in the mirror, I see promise of the svelte and fit creature I was when young. It is a tremendous incentive to keep on keeping on.

A favorite gluten-free, low calorie, low carbs, high protein dessert that I stumbled upon by fooling with a recipe in Keto in 30 Minutes, edited by Jen Fisch of Ketointhecity.com, is one I call ‘Blueberry-Blackberry Cobbler’. I treat myself to a filling and satisfying 2-inch square of it drenched in icy-cold, Aldis’s Friendly Farms Original 30 calories per cup almond milk on many late evenings. Blue Diamond almond milk is also a good one. Neither of them is thick and greasy like Silk almond milk. Coconut milk works, if it is your preference. And no, this dessert will not go to your hips, unless of course, you gobble down the whole thing in one sitting.

Blueberry-Blackberry Cobbler

¼ cup gluten-cholesterol-sugar-free coconut flour
4 large eggs
4 oz. cream cheese, softened, I prefer Neufchatel, it contains less fat and has a tangy bite to it
1½ tsp. baking powder
¼ cup Erythritol or three packets of Stevia, plant-based, sugar-free sweeteners
1 tsp. vanilla extract (organic, if possible)
1 tbsp. lemon zest (I use four drops of ‘Young Living’ essential lemon oil)

Nonstick butter cooking spray
4 pats butter
¼ cup blueberries
¼ cup blackberries

Pre-heat oven to 425º F.

Combine all ingredients before cooking spray together in a mixing bowl.

Coat the sides and bottom of an 8-inch. x 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Place a thin pat of butter in each corner of the baking dish. Set dish in the oven until butter melt, about 2 – 3 minutes.

The thick batter spoons nicely into the warm baking dish. Now here is the trick to avoid turning your cobbler into a ‘mushy-bottomed-mess.’ Rather than mix your fruit into the batter, spoon blueberries and blackberries onto the top of the batter. You can use any fruit you choose, but be careful, most fruits outside the berry family are high in carbs and will go to your hips.

Bake about 20 minutes.

I whip up this delicious dessert in the evening so I can cut myself a warm square of it right out of the oven. It is a yummy soother to a gnarling, late-night tummy.

While your cobbler is baking, how about taking a peek at my latest romance/crime-thriller?

Amid the seductions of Las Vegas, Nevada and an idyllic coffee plantation on Hawai’i’s Big Island, a sextet of opposites converge within a shared fate: a glamorous movie-star courting distractions from her troubled past; her shell-shocked bodyguards clutching handholds out of their hardscrabble lives; a dropout Hawaiian nuclear physicist gambling his way back home; a Navajo rancher seeking cleansing for harming Mother Earth; and from its lofty perch, the Hawaiian’s guardian spirit conjured as his pet raven, conducting this symphony of soul odysseys.

Was it chance or destiny’s hand behind the movie-star and gambler’s curious encounter at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas? The cards fold, their hearts open, and a match strikes, flames that sizzle their hearts and souls. Can they have the moon and the stars, too? Or is she too dangerous? Is he? Can their love withstand betrayal? Can it endure murder?

While the cards at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas fail to distract them from their troubled pasts, on the side, the actress and the gambler play a game of ‘will they won’t they’ romance. Meanwhile, an otherworldly hand also has a big stake in the game. Unexpected secrets unfold brimming with dangerous consequences, and finally, a strange brand of salvation.

Amazon Buy Links PaperbackKindle

Multi-award-winning author and artist Linda Lee Greene describes her life as a telescope that when trained on her past reveals how each piece of it, whether good or bad or in-between, was necessary in the unfoldment of her fine art and literary paths.

Greene moved from farm-girl to city-girl; dance instructor to wife, mother, and homemaker; divorcee to single-working-mom and adult-college-student; and interior designer to multi-award-winning artist and author, essayist, and blogger. It was decades of challenging life experiences and debilitating, chronic illness that gave birth to her dormant flair for art and writing. Greene was three days shy of her fifty-seventh birthday when her creative spirit took a hold of her.

She found her way to her lonely easel soon thereafter. Since then Greene has accepted commissions and displayed her artwork in shows and galleries in and around the USA. She is also a member of artist and writer associations.

Visit Linda at her online art gallery and join her on Facebook. Linda loves to hear from readers so feel free to email her.

Read Full Post »

Friday Features’

Guest talks about

How to Save the Life of an Author

by

Linda Lee Greene

BOOKWORM  – Watercolor painting by Linda Lee Greene

It is a fact that “Muse,” that mysterious and severe task-master chains authors to their writing instruments for weeks, or months, and sometimes years at a time. They aren’t allowed to eat, or brush their teeth, or bathe, or sleep. They almost never get to see other human beings. Muse makes them ignore the ring of the doorbell and the phone, and pull the drapes and close the blinds. Nothing, nothing, nothing must get in the way of scratching down those precious lines. At long last the book is done—finished—complete! And authors wait; they wait; they wait for feedback from readers, feedback that is the lifeblood of writers, that keeps them motivated, that keeps them sane, that rescues their self-esteem, and that very well might save their life!

Accumulating reader reviews of books is a huge hurdle for authors, and the truth is that without reviews, books don’t stand a chance of reaching a wide audience, even though they might be very worthwhile reads. Nowadays, by way of cyberspace, something like 4,500 new books per day hit the bookseller market, a large percentage of that number written and self-published by highly talented and fearless authors. The crushing heap of competition they are under demands that many good reviews on Amazon and/or Goodreads is the best, and perhaps, the only way they can crawl out from under the pile and receive the notice they deserve.

A lot of readers would like to post reviews but feel intimidated by the process. You’re in luck. You can write something as simple as “I loved it!” or “This is one of the best books I’ve ever read!” or “I couldn’t put it down!” If you didn’t like the book, explain the reason in the review because that’s information the author needs to be a better writer.

Please support authors by posting reviews of their books, especially at Amazon.com. All you have to do is go to Amazon and type in the name of the book. When the correct page comes up, click onto the space on the right indicating the number of current reviews. The reviews page comes up. You will see a series of five stars on the left side of the page. Click onto the star that corresponds with your rating of the book. The fifth star on the right indicates the highest rating. A dialog box in which to type your review is directly below the stars. And below that, a box shows in which to title your review. When you have done all these things, click “submit” at the bottom of the page. And wallah—you’ve saved the life of a hard-working and lonely author!

My crime thriller novel, A Chance at the Moon is on Amazon. I welcome your review.

Was it chance or destiny’s hand behind a man and a woman’s curious encounter at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas? The cards fold, their hearts open, and a match strikes, flames that sizzle their hearts and souls. Can they have the moon and the stars, too? Or is she too dangerous? Is he? Can their love withstand betrayal? Can it endure murder?

While the cards at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas fail to distract them from their troubled pasts, on the side, the actress and the gambler play a game of ‘will they won’t they’ romance. Meanwhile, an otherworldly hand also has a big stake in the game. Unexpected secrets unfold brimming with dangerous consequences, and finally, a strange brand of salvation.

Amid the seductions of Las Vegas, Nevada and an idyllic coffee plantation on Hawai’i’s Big Island, a sextet of opposites converge within a shared fate: a glamorous movie-star courting distractions from her troubled past; her shell-shocked bodyguards clutching handholds out of their hardscrabble lives; a dropout Hawaiian nuclear physicist gambling his way back home; a Navajo rancher seeking cleansing for harming Mother Earth; and from its lofty perch, the Hawaiian’s guardian spirit conjured as his pet raven, conducting this symphony of soul odysseys.

The Cast of Characters
Actress, Olivia Montoyo Simms escapes the shadow of her mother’s gruesome murder and the relentless demands of Hollywood and loses herself in the cards at Las Vegas casinos. But like hounds on the scent, the scandal tracks her. And true to her history, it shows up in the person of dashing Hawaiian gambler, Koa Kalua’i. Neither of them are strangers at taking risks and too often losing. Will they win in their chance at the moon this time?

In Hawaiian cosmology, Aumakuas are guardian spirits whom many believe to manifest in physical form. Koa Kalua’i knows the tenet to be true, because Raven has not only been his winged-pet since the earliest days of his childhood on his family’s coffee plantation on Hawaii’s Big Island, but also his Aumakua. They make a remarkable pair, dedicated to righting wrongs.

Born and raised in Las Vegas, and orphaned as little kids, twin brothers Nicholas and Tobias Plato grew up tough but tenderhearted, qualities they put to use as actress, Olivia Montoyo Simms’ bodyguards. Who knew that Nicholas would play such a pivotal role in Olivia’s life: her most trusted friend and guardian, and in the end, her savior?

Navajo rancher and computer geek, Sam Whitehorse uncovers a secret, terrorist stockpile of materiel burrowed in the side of one his people’s sacred mountains in Nevada. It is a threat that he and Las Vegas gambler, Koa Kalua’i must expose and eliminate, but potential government involvement in the matter complicates such an offensive. And why does actress, Olivia Montoyo Simms insert herself into the whole affair?

Amazon Buy Links PaperbackKindle

Multi-award-winning author and artist Linda Lee Greene describes her life as a telescope that when trained on her past reveals how each piece of it, whether good or bad or in-between, was necessary in the unfoldment of her fine art and literary paths.

Greene moved from farm-girl to city-girl; dance instructor to wife, mother, and homemaker; divorcee to single-working-mom and adult-college-student; and interior designer to multi-award-winning artist and author, essayist, and blogger, it was decades of challenging life experiences and debilitating, chronic illness that gave birth to her dormant flair for art and writing. Greene was three days shy of her fifty-seventh birthday when her creative spirit took a strong hold.

She found her way to her lonely easel soon thereafter. Since then Greene has accepted commissions and displayed her artwork in shows and galleries in and around the USA. She is also a member of artist and writer associations.

Visit Linda at her online art gallery and join her on Facebook. Linda loves to hear from readers so feel free to email her. Blog: http://Ingoodcompanyohio.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/LindaLeeGreeneAuthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/LindaLeeGreeneAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LLGreeneAuthor
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest/LindaLeeGreene/

Read Full Post »

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Nostalgia from Linda Lee Greene who brings us her ‘Farmhouse Cheese Soup’ recipe used as an appetizer.

Winter, and especially the high-holiday season that is winter’s centerpiece, brings with it for me an air of nostalgia, a wistfulness for the Thanksgiving Days of old, the days when at the end of a long country lane, the white square farmhouse of my maternal grandparents came into view, and within its walls my large family would soon gather around an immense table groaning with a homegrown Thanksgiving meal. With the elapsing of time, the torch has passed to my aunts and uncles, and then to the members of my generation. The work of keeping the traditions of our family alive and well continues to be handed down.

This past Thanksgiving my immediate family gathered at the home of my daughter, Elizabeth, the person who often as not, has hosted our celebration for several years. I am so grateful for the young people of my family, and for the time and space to hunker into the winter of my life, to gather my provisions, as well as to relax into my unbound hours and make the most of them.

Turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberries, and several other side dishes, sweetened at meal’s end with pumpkin pie and whipped cream, and a wide selection of additional heavenly desserts was our traditional fare. Last year, we broadened our menu with some new dishes. My contribution was a lovely ‘Farmhouse Cheese Soup’ laid at table as an appetizer. The recipe comes from Stacey Pirtle of ‘Southern Discourse,’ where it is described as “…oogey, gooey, goodness…a zesty comfort food even the pickiest eaters will enjoy.”

Savory Farmhouse Cheese Soup

    1 stick (½ cup) butter
    ⅓ cup onion, diced
    ⅓ cup carrots, diced
    ⅓ cup celery, diced
    1 tsp. garlic, minced
    32 oz. chicken broth (I prefer the low-sodium brands)
    ½ cup roasted red peppers, diced
    1 cup of Chardonnay, optional
    6 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
    6 cups of half-and-half
    2 tsp. paprika
    1½ tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
    1 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. white pepper
    Bacon bits
    French bread, small chunks

Melt butter in a large stockpot or automatic cooker over medium-low heat. Add onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook until vegetables are translucent.

Add broth and peppers. Simmer about 5 minutes. Pour in Chardonnay and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Add cheddar cheese, 1 cup at a time, and stir well after each cup until cheese is melted. Blend in half-and-half a little at a time, stirring continuously.

Stir in paprika, thyme, salt, and white pepper. Cook on very low heat for another 5 to 10 minutes, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes.

Sprinkle bacon bits on top of each savory bowl. Sprinkle on bread. Shredded chicken is a nice add-in. Enjoy!

While your soup is simmering how about a peek at my latest crime thriller?

Was it chance or destiny’s hand behind a man and a woman’s curious encounter at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas? The cards fold, their hearts open, and a match strikes, flames that sizzle their hearts and souls. Can they have the moon and the stars, too? Or is she too dangerous? Is he? Can their love withstand betrayal? Can it endure murder?

While the cards at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas fail to distract them from their troubled pasts, on the side, the actress and the gambler play a game of ‘will they won’t they’ romance. Meanwhile, an otherworldly hand also has a big stake in the game. Unexpected secrets unfold brimming with dangerous consequences, and finally, a strange brand of salvation.

Amid the seductions of Las Vegas, Nevada and an idyllic coffee plantation on Hawai’i’s Big Island, a sextet of opposites converge within a shared fate: a glamorous movie-star courting distractions from her troubled past; her shell-shocked bodyguards clutching handholds out of their hardscrabble lives; a dropout Hawaiian nuclear physicist gambling his way back home; a Navajo rancher seeking cleansing for harming Mother Earth; and from its lofty perch, the Hawaiian’s guardian spirit conjured as his pet raven, conducting this symphony of soul odysseys.

The Cast of Characters
Actress, Olivia Montoyo Simms escapes the shadow of her mother’s gruesome murder and the relentless demands of Hollywood and loses herself in the cards at Las Vegas casinos. But like hounds on the scent, the scandal tracks her. And true to her history, it shows up in the person of dashing Hawaiian gambler, Koa Kalua’i. Neither of them are strangers at taking risks and too often losing. Will they win in their chance at the moon this time?

In Hawaiian cosmology, Aumakuas are guardian spirits whom many believe to manifest in physical form. Koa Kalua’i knows the tenet to be true, because Raven has not only been his winged-pet since the earliest days of his childhood on his family’s coffee plantation on Hawaii’s Big Island, but also his Aumakua. They make a remarkable pair, dedicated to righting wrongs.

Born and raised in Las Vegas, and orphaned as little kids, twin brothers Nicholas and Tobias Plato grew up tough but tenderhearted, qualities they put to use as actress, Olivia Montoyo Simms’ bodyguards. Who knew that Nicholas would play such a pivotal role in Olivia’s life: her most trusted friend and guardian, and in the end, her savior?

Navajo rancher and computer geek, Sam Whitehorse uncovers a secret, terrorist stockpile of materiel burrowed in the side of one his people’s sacred mountains in Nevada. It is a threat that he and Las Vegas gambler, Koa Kalua’i must expose and eliminate, but potential government involvement in the matter complicates such an offensive. And why does actress, Olivia Montoyo Simms insert herself into the whole affair?

Amazon Buy Links PaperbackKindle

Multi-award-winning author and artist Linda Lee Greene describes her life as a telescope that when trained on her past reveals how each piece of it, whether good or bad or in-between, was necessary in the unfoldment of her fine art and literary paths.

Greene moved from farm-girl to city-girl; dance instructor to wife, mother, and homemaker; divorcee to single-working-mom and adult-college-student; and interior designer to multi-award-winning artist and author, essayist, and blogger, it was decades of challenging life experiences and debilitating, chronic illness that gave birth to her dormant flair for art and writing. Greene was three days shy of her fifty-seventh birthday when her creative spirit took a strong hold.

She found her way to her lonely easel soon thereafter. Since then Greene has accepted commissions and displayed her artwork in shows and galleries in and around the USA. She is also a member of artist and writer associations.

Visit Linda at her online art gallery and join her on Facebook. Linda loves to hear from readers so feel free to email her.

Read Full Post »

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Linda Lee Greene

From one unexpected twist to another you fall deeper and deeper into this intriguing romantic crime thriller, A Chance at the Moon, from Linda Lee Greene. The cast of characters are strong and compelling. This is a book you’ll definitely want to read.

Was it chance or destiny’s hand behind a man and a woman’s curious encounter at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas? The cards fold, their hearts open, and a match strikes, flames that sizzle their hearts and souls. Can they have the moon and the stars, too? Or is she too dangerous? Is he? Can their love withstand betrayal? Can it endure murder?

While the cards at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas fail to distract them from their troubled pasts, on the side, the actress and the gambler play a game of ‘will they won’t they’ romance. Meanwhile, an otherworldly hand also has a big stake in the game. Unexpected secrets unfold brimming with dangerous consequences, and finally, a strange brand of salvation.

Amid the seductions of Las Vegas, Nevada and an idyllic coffee plantation on Hawai’i’s Big Island, a sextet of opposites converge within a shared fate: a glamorous movie-star courting distractions from her troubled past; her shell-shocked bodyguards clutching handholds out of their hardscrabble lives; a dropout Hawaiian nuclear physicist gambling his way back home; a Navajo rancher seeking cleansing for harming Mother Earth; and from its lofty perch, the Hawaiian’s guardian spirit conjured as his pet raven, conducting this symphony of soul odysseys.

The Cast of Characters
Actress, Olivia Montoyo Simms escapes the shadow of her mother’s gruesome murder and the relentless demands of Hollywood and loses herself in the cards at Las Vegas casinos. But like hounds on the scent, the scandal tracks her. And true to her history, it shows up in the person of dashing Hawaiian gambler, Koa Kalua’i. Neither of them are strangers at taking risks and too often losing. Will they win in their chance at the moon this time?

In Hawaiian cosmology, Aumakuas are guardian spirits whom many believe to manifest in physical form. Koa Kalua’i knows the tenet to be true, because Raven has not only been his winged-pet since the earliest days of his childhood on his family’s coffee plantation on Hawaii’s Big Island, but also his Aumakua. They make a remarkable pair, dedicated to righting wrongs.

Born and raised in Las Vegas, and orphaned as little kids, twin brothers Nicholas and Tobias Plato grew up tough but tenderhearted, qualities they put to use as actress, Olivia Montoyo Simms’ bodyguards. Who knew that Nicholas would play such a pivotal role in Olivia’s life: her most trusted friend and guardian, and in the end, her savior?

Navajo rancher and computer geek, Sam Whitehorse uncovers a secret, terrorist stockpile of materiel burrowed in the side of one his people’s sacred mountains in Nevada. It is a threat that he and Las Vegas gambler, Koa Kalua’i must expose and eliminate, but potential government involvement in the matter complicates such an offensive. And why does actress, Olivia Montoyo Simms insert herself into the whole affair?

Amazon Buy Links PaperbackKindle

Multi-award-winning author and artist Linda Lee Greene describes her life as a telescope that when trained on her past reveals how each piece of it, whether good or bad or in-between, was necessary in the unfoldment of her fine art and literary paths.

Greene moved from farm-girl to city-girl; dance instructor to wife, mother, and homemaker; divorcee to single-working-mom and adult-college-student; and interior designer to multi-award-winning artist and author, essayist, and blogger, it was decades of challenging life experiences and debilitating, chronic illness that gave birth to her dormant flair for art and writing. Greene was three days shy of her fifty-seventh birthday when her creative spirit took a strong hold.

She found her way to her lonely easel soon thereafter. Since then Greene has accepted commissions and displayed her artwork in shows and galleries in and around the USA. She is also a member of artist and writer associations.

Visit Linda at her online art gallery and join her on Facebook. Linda loves to hear from readers so feel free to email her.

Read Full Post »