Seeing that this is the holiday season, what's more natural than to share favorite holiday dishes? I remember my mother making Christmas cookies with a cookie press and decorating them with sprinkle of colored sugar. She also made divinity, a candy based on egg whites. I can't remember the taste of those. Other than that, my family has no traditional holiday favorites; however, I have two, one of which is supposedly too simple for words and which I never make. The other comes from my sister-in-law, Deva, who believes in the wonders of butter and heavy cream.
The first holiday delicacy that I only get at potluck dinners hosted by my mother-in-law is deviled eggs. Yes, she told me the recipe once, but I don't remember it. I have never made them--and likely never will. The temptation to gobble down a dozen eggs is too strong. Best to enjoy them as holiday treats.
The second holiday delicacy is sweet potato casserole. I've had such casseroles that were disgustingly sweet, heavy (lead in the belly), and slimy. My sister-in-law's recipe comes from the mountains of North Carolina and is the only way that I'll eat pecans. Here it is:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over top of the sweet potato mixture. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Remove and let stand for 10 minutes. For additional sweetness, sprinkle the mini marshmallows over the casserole and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until marshmallows are golden.
I prefer to leave off the marshmallows, as the casserole is plenty sweet enough. This casserole is surprisingly light and fluffy, utterly delicious even with pecans.
What's your favorite holiday dish?
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When it comes to an individual, some can be defined as a statistic, while others are made to stand out, backing up the definition of unique. Statistics said, I should have died. Statistics said, I was supposed to suffer from Down Syndrome. Statistics said, I wouldn’t be able to walk or talk. Statistics told my mom to prepare to bury her child, but our God said otherwise. Every statistic that was thrown at me never prospered; instead, the exact opposite happened and what the doctors didn’t expect to happen had fortunately, happened.
I struggled with a disability, but not how others assumed I’d struggled; for it was more of a mental struggle than a physical struggle. Although I’m labeled as a disabled person my appearance may fool you. Throughout this book, and more to come, it will tell you why you should never judge a book by its cover. Regardless of whom or what a person may appear to be, looks can and will be deceiving.
After I wrote on the walls I felt a little better, yet one random day my mom found out about the writing and called the police on me without me even knowing. Long story short, the police took me to the Rainbow Children Hospital. Being under watch as if I was going to harm myself. I was released back to my mom’s custody only to be taken back to the LauraWood hospital, somewhere in Painesville Ohio. I stayed there for a week in a half where I met a few cool people as well as enemies as usual.
My one roommate attempted to kill herself using a sheet; however, the nurses came in and took her to an isolated room. During the stay, I had a chance to talk to my mentor and this time spoke to a different social worker telling her some of the issues that was going on in the house. Other than that, I had fun on my vacation. I was guaranteed my three meals plus snacks, was able to watch TV and had free time. It was like heaven being at peace. The only problem I had was with another inmate talking about my hand and before a fight could break out we were separated except for gym time. A few days later I was released back into my mom’s custody and the depression started again.
Back home I was greeted with the same yelling giving demands, got hit for her having to repeat herself and barely ate. The nights I wasn’t allowed to eat I would eat from my saved stash of snacks. The days she did let me eat it was what she cooked that night but some of it had been in the fridge for up to two weeks. The only thing I looked forward to was school and talk to the few friends I had. Although I was going through hell at home, I never showed it at school nor did I let people know what was going on behind closed doors. Instead I was the same goofy ass people had known me to be.
After a week of going back to school I had another altercation with my mom and after her beating me on my ass with a pole, I attempted suicide using bottles of pills I got from LauraWood and then prepared for death. I was so fed up with the lifestyle I was living; if I had to kill myself to find peace I was willing to do it. No one understood how it felt living like a low life slave alone surviving in the jungle.
God had another plan…….
Kristalen Barringer (author) is a twenty-seven-year-old, disabled, African-American, Israelite female, from Cleveland Ohio. Due to her life's circumstances, she's lived thus far and now uses her life stories as inspiration. Determined to motivate all who shall read with clarification, that storms are made for us to be strong. She is using her life story as an example of how statistics can be wrong. "If life gives you lemons, make lemon detox water to remove the toxic from your body." Despite how she voices her thoughts, this autobiography will define her as a person and answer all questions that relate to the author. Only then will you fully understand the background of the author and the purpose of her becoming a now two-year, self-published author to her first of many books to come.
Bear of the Midnight Sun
“I won’t hurt you,” he said as the ursine forelegs melted back into human arms.
“But do you believe me now?” She nodded, unable yet to speak. Miranda knew that if she opened her throat, screams would pour forth. Or mindless gibbering.
“Good. Unless I am able to replace the steel and plastic in my leg with the growth of new bone, I cannot fully shift.”
She nodded, as though agreeing with him. Or maybe just to acknowledge she heard his words. So, he continued.
“Like all my kind, our souls are unsettled until mated. The man understands honor and love; the beast only knows possessiveness, attraction, and desire.”
“Why me?” Miranda whispered and for some unfathomable reason felt somewhat insulted at the inference that he wouldn’t have been attracted to her if it weren’t for the unreasonable beast within him. She blinked rapidly in lieu of shaking her head to dismiss such idiotic thoughts. “Why not one of your own kind, or at least someone who wants this?”
“That, my dear, is your God’s little joke upon us pagans. My bear recognizes you, claims you as ours. The beast is never wrong.”
“He’s wrong about this.”
“Did you not feel something when I took your hand when we were introduced?”
“Static electricity,” she stated, flatly denying anything mystical.
“No, the beginning of a mate bond, the recognition of souls that belong to one another.”
“I still think you’re insane.”
“My alleged insanity is not entirely out of the question. The things I’ve seen and done throughout the centuries were enough to drive any man, no matter how strong, to the refuge of madness. Tell me, Miranda, did you or did you not see my arms change?”
She nodded. “Yes.”
“Then, crazy I might be, but I am no liar.”
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My Sunny Vampire (Bitten by Love Book 1)
Jack VanAllen has spent his long life following the rules and, as a member of the Vampire Committee, he also enforces them. So, when he awakens in an alley next to an illegally-turned vampire who resembles his late wife, he must prove his innocence or suffer the punishment: death. The problem? He doesn’t remember a thing.
Sunshine Petersen’s life as a vampire isn’t getting off to a great start. She’s got no control over her powers, can’t find a job, and sexy Jack is being stand-offish. The only thing she’d like more than catching the creep who turned her is getting Jack into the closest bed. But, could Jack be the one who turned her?
When he and Sunny team up to find the culprit, Jack discovers feelings he hasn’t had in years. But once Sunny finds out he’s keeping a major secret, she disappears. Unfortunately, the man who turned her still has plans…
Jack VanAllen woke and immediately knew something was wrong. Contrary to many myths, vampires never slept, and since becoming one, he’d never passed out.
The cloying scent of wet cardboard and urine heightened his sense of wrongness and he bolted upright. Snow fell off his face and chest. What the hell? Close to six inches covered the ground. How did he end up in a narrow alley beside a dumpster? He searched his memories and came up with…nothing. Blank. Zip. Zilch.
Whatever that bum drank or snorted had sure done a trick on Jack. Damn Frank for wanting to go out in the first place. So what if it was New Year’s Eve? It wasn’t like he hadn’t celebrated over two hundred of them.
Jack brushed the snow off his hair and gazed upward. Crap. The sky should be inky-black, not medium-blue tinged with pink. He scrambled upright, flinging snow in the process, and checked his watch.
Seven-thirty? The sun would rise in less than fifteen minutes. If he didn’t get his ass in gear, he could very well fry, but where the hell was he?
He sloshed through the snow and stumbled over something solid, landing face first in the fluffy stuff. As he stood and spit out the ice crystals, the lump moaned.
“Frank?” He frantically brushed away the snow, uncovering the back of a hooded, blue coat and long, shapely legs. Well, she was definitely not Frank. And her shoes were missing. Damn, she had to be freezing. He pulled the hood down.
Red hair framed a flawless, creamy-white face.
“Clara?” His heart skipped a beat.
No. Wait. Not Clara. This woman sure looked like his long-dead wife, though. Then it hit him. She’d been at the bar Frank had dragged him to. The reason he’d fed from that bum. So what was she doing out here?
“Miss?” He tapped her face. “Come on, sweetheart. Wake up. I can’t stay out here much longer.”
Her head lolled to one side. No, no, no. This couldn’t be. Two bluish welts stood out on her slender neck, a couple of inches apart. Only venom injected into a human would leave those marks and they couldn’t be hidden.
A vampire had turned her.
Damn it. Jack punched the side of the dumpster. The explosive sound echoed in the alley as the container slid several inches. Why? Was the vampire an idiot? There was no way someone had permission to turn her. As a Committee member, he’d have known about it. And why dump her in an alley as if she were trash? None of it made any sense.
The woman moaned, bringing him back to the present. Time was short. If he didn’t get them to safety before sunrise, they were cooked.
Stacy McKitrick fell in love with paranormal romance, decided to write her own and found her passion in life. She used to work in accounting, now she spends her time with vampires and ghosts. Born in California, she currently resides in Ohio with her husband. They have two grown children. You can find more about her on her website at www.StacyMcKitrick.com.
Author of the Bitten by Love and Ghostly Encounters series
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Sometimes, the beast gives advanced signals and the rider can anticipate what's coming. Other times, the buck comes as a surprise. Neither one portends good fortune. In the first scenario of anticipation, the rider--consciously or not--braces for the upheaval which can put him or her at a disadvantage when the bucking starts. In the second, the rider may not have the skill to react and counteract in time to avoid eating dirt.
While many reasons exist for softening language, writers often employ five words when one will do to pad their word counts or because they don't know the one correct words that means exactly what they want to say. Or they coin new words because the correct, existing word escapes their sum of knowledge--and they don't think to consult a thesaurus or dictionary.
This results from a general "dumbing down" of education and expectations which further results in an expectation that effective writing means writing for the lowest common denominator of adult reader. Where once publishers encouraged romance writers to write for an eighth grade education level, they now urge writers to write for a 6th grade education level. Somehow the idea of stretching one's vocabulary--easing a reader out of his or her comfort zone with the occasional, uncommon word such that the reader may be spurred to consult a dictionary--has become anathema.
Balderdash. Poppycock. Nonsense.
We learn by venturing beyond our comfort zones. Reading, even for pleasure, offers an opportunity to learn something while being entertained. If that learning happens to be a new word or twelve, then so much the better.
The pitching and heaving of a beast trying its best to rid itself of its rider also describes many other aspects of one's life and career. Frankly, I've experienced many involuntary dismounts, both literal and figurative: efforts that led to disappointment or outright catastrophe.
We are doomed to suffer disappointments large and small. Authors, musicians, and artists especially must learn to cope with the concept, whether rejection comes in the form of negative reviews, low sales, lack of appreciation, whatever. Disappointment following disappointment discourages continued effort; however, I suggest that it should encourage continued improvement. Ask yourself the important questions of why and what. Discover the reasons for failure and learn from them. Then accept that your creative endeavor won't please everyone.
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.
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