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Sherri Stewart

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Five Things that Will Shock You about the Netherlands

February 2021 Newsletter

It’s Field Trip Time!

Five Things that Will Shock You about the Netherlands
Sherri Stewart

Escape with me from the wintry climes of the US to the Netherlands. We’ll read some historical romances and chew on some warm, comfort food.

1. Did you know that many Amsterdam houses lean forward? There are many theories: For one, the first floors were built to be narrow because people were taxed based on width; therefore, the upper floors may have been built to be larger. Or it could also be because they have shifted a bit since construction many centuries ago. Not to worry. If they’ve stood this long, they’ll last a bit longer. https://whatsupwithamsterdam.com/amsterdam-houses-crooked/
2. Did you know Dutch people throw their bikes in the canals?
The government has to regularly dredge for discarded bikes to keep the water safe. They do so with a boat-mounted claw.
 
3. Did you know that the Netherlands has the highest percentage of people who speak English? 90-93% speak English as a second language, so it makes for a great place to visit.
4. Did you know that the Dutch made carrots orange? The transformation was for political reasons. Dutch growers cultivated them as a tribute to William of Orange who led the struggle for Dutch independence. https://www.expatica.com/nl/moving/about/netherlands-facts-108857/
5. Did you know that Dutch people open their curtains so passersby can see inside their house? It could be because they want to show they have nothing to hide, or it could be to showcase their décor, in the same way that Americans do with their gardens.
 
A Song for Her Enemies—Release Date March 2!! Pre-order $3.99
After Nazi soldiers close the opera and destroy Tamar Kaplan’s dream of becoming a professional singer, she joins the Dutch Resistance, her fair coloring concealing her Jewish heritage. Tamar partners with Dr. Daniel Feldman, and they risk their lives to help escaping refugees. When they are forced to flee themselves, violinist Neelie Visser takes them into hiding.
Tamar’s love for Daniel flowers in hardship, but she struggles with the paradox that a loving God would allow the atrocities around her. When Tamar resists the advances of a Third Reich officer, he exacts his revenge by betraying the secrets hidden behind the walls of Neelie’s house. From a prison hospital to a Nazi celebration to a concentration camp, will the three of them survive to tell the world the secrets behind barbed wire?  
A Song for Her Enemies is the story of a talented young opera singer and the bittersweet love that grows amid the tyranny and fear of World War II. Set against the backdrop of neighbors willing to risk their lives in the German-occupied, war-torn Netherlands, A Song for Her Enemies is an inspiring and beautiful novel celebrating the resilience of the human spirit and the determination of Christians in the face of persecution. It is a novel for everyone seeking to understand the pain of the past and be inspired to embrace hope for the future. https://amzn.to/2M09u0n
 
 

Zuurkoolstampp
Sauerkraut-Potato Puree with Crispy Bacon
The ultimate comfort food—creamy, sour, and smoky goodness
https://www.thespruceeats.com/zuurkoolstamppot-recipe-sauerkraut-1128831

 

Ingredients

  • 3.3 lb (1.5 kg) floury potatoes 
  • 3/4 lb (350 g) lean unsmoked cured bacon/zuurkoolspek 
  • 1 3/4 lb (750 g) sauerkraut 
  • 2 cups (475 ml) milk 
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup (40 g) celery leaf (selderieblad, see Tips), to taste 
Steps to Make It
  1. Peel and dice the potatoes and cook in salted water in a large soup pot for 20 minutes, or until tender.
  2. In a skillet or frying pan, fry the bacon until just crispy, and drain on kitchen paper. Add the sauerkraut to the bacon fat in the pan and allow to warm through. Meanwhile, warm the milk in a small saucepan.
  3. Drain, shake and dry the potatoes with kitchen towels before mashing with a potato masher or ricer. Quickly add the warmed milk and butter to the potatoes and season to taste.
  4. Fold the sauerkraut through the mashed potatoes. Crumble the bacon and finely chopped celery leaves over the dish, fold through, and serve piping hot. 
 
 
 
Meet Faye Roberts
Where did your love of writing come from?
Rudyard Kipling wrote that if history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten. In my early years, I grew up spending summers with a grandmother who poured her love of history into me through her stories. Later, I was blessed with a high school history teacher who taught using that philosophy. We read The Good Earth by Pearl Buck to get the real history of China, and Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak to explain the Russian Revolution. His class was during the year of 1971 when our own history was being fought by former upperclassmen sent to a place called Vietnam. We were encouraged to debate the pros and cons and form our own opinions. And to remember those who never came back - hard lessons learned.
 
Tell us about your first book?
 
My first novel, Fragile Treaties, used the same concept that I learned in school, showing the everyday lives of the Ute people and what led up to the removal from their homeland in southwest Colorado. It was an honor to have the book used by a high school teacher in her Colorado History class. She stated that her students “got it” – the sacrifice, the greed, and the betrayals - woven into a story they actually read.
 
I’ve read your whole series of the Silver Cross Ranch Legacy. Tell us a bit about them.
 
Fragile Treaties was the foundation of what would later become a series – The Silver Cross Ranch Legacy. Historical facts are woven into the lives of four generations of ranch women who run the Silver Cross over a period of one hundred years. The series brings to life the moments in history that have formed us both as a people, and as a nation. Now, more than ever, it's imperative not to erase the lessons of history, but to heed the warnings.
Tell us about the setting.
 
The location of the Silver Cross Ranch series is based on an actual ranch called The Last Dollar Ranch between my hometown of Montrose and the ski resort of Telluride, Colorado. The old buildings on the ranch, from the main house to the barn and outbuildings, were painstakingly taken apart and rebuilt, keeping every aspect of the ranch as authentic as possible. The movie True Grit was filmed there, as well as many other commercials. What I loved about the character Rose Bodeen in the first book of the series, was her tenacious spirit as caretaker of the family ranch. Certainly not perfect, she came to trust and rely on her faith as she worked to bring the ranch into a new era. Being faced with our own challenging times today, Rose is a good reminder to look not to ourselves for answers, but to seek guidance from our Great Creator.

The Legacy of Rose Bodeen on Amazon
Imagine opening a long-forgotten trunk to find diaries written by your foremothers. Four generations of thoughts, heartaches, challenges, and triumphs. What lessons did they write inside the yellowed pages? What lessons could they gift you now?
THE LEGACY OF ROSE BODEEN – Book One of the Silver Cross Ranch Legacy
Rose Bodeen is a hard-living kind of girl who can out-ride any hand on the ranch. After being jilted, she sets out for adventure and finds it with Bill Cody’s Wild West Extravaganza. Yet the land draws her back like warm sun draws flowers from the ground in spring, just as her sweet Mama said it would the day she rode away. With matter-of-fact conviction and bull-headed determination, she strives to survive during the fast-changing times that follow—The Great War, the fight for a women’s right to vote, the Industrial Revolution, the high-kicking Roaring Twenties followed by the Great Depression, and yet another devastating world war. She celebrates thrilling triumphs and endures deep tragedies, along with losses that go hand-in-hand with loving. With hard-won faith, Rose comes to accept what she calls God’s anvil time that hammers and hones her into all she’s meant to be.
Faye Roberts
silvercrossranch@gmail.com
www.fayerobertswriter.com
Visit Faye Roberts on Amazon
 
 
Hearty Elk Stew in a Crock Pot
In our country, elk meat is a staple. If you don’t have access to elk, substitute using beef.
 
4 slices thick cut bacon cut into ½ inch pieces.
3 T. flour
1 t. salt
½ t. pepper
3 lbs. elk meat cut into one-inch chunks
1 c. beef broth
1 c. dry red wine (substitute additional beef broth if you would rather use)
2 T.  beef flavored Better Than Bouillon
2 T. tomato paste
1 c. sliced mushrooms
2 carrots cut into one-inch pieces
2 large peeled potatoes cut into one-inch chunks
1 cup diced onion
3 cloves minced garlic
1 T. Herbs de Provence
Pinch of red pepper flakes
 
Place the elk meat in a one-gallon plastic bag. Add the flour, salt and pepper and shake until coated.
 
In a large skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon pieces to a paper towel, then add the elk meat to the bacon grease in the skillet. Spoon the meat into the Crock Pot when all sides are browned.
 
De-glaze the skillet by adding the wine, beef broth, bouillon and tomato paste. Bring to a boil and stir, scraping the browned bits on the bottom into the broth. Pour the mixture into the Crock Pot over the elk meat.
 
Add in the vegetables and herbs and cook until the meat is tender, about 4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. Add the reserved bacon bits before serving. Serve with hot biscuits or over buttered noodles.
 
 
Meet Linda Knowles
Linda was raised in Prichard, Alabama with her three brothers until 1954. Their parents, Gladys and Eddie Summers, built a house on Strange Avenue in Saraland. Linda was in the fifth grade when she entered Satsuma High School. (her stepfather always answered to “Mr. Sealy” even though his name was Summers)
Linda graduated from SHS in 1963 and was a cheerleader from the 7th grade to freshman year at Livingston Teachers College. Linda recalls that she always wanted to be just like Pat Pierce Hicks in school. A great cheerleader!

 In 1964, she married Phillip (Pete) Knowles. They have two children: Kelli Williams and Pete Knowles, II, and three beautiful teenage granddaughters. They all reside in Niceville and Destin, Florida.
How did you start writing?
I began my writing career one night because I was depressed. It was the week of my wonderful husband, Pete Knowles, Sr’s death anniversary.  He had been passed for ten years.  I sat down at my computer and began a short story about a young girl who had a little sister and a mean old stepfather. Before I knew it, I was on a stagecoach headed to heaven knows where and that became the name of a 100,000-word “short story.”
Once I began this story and gave birth to my characters, it was funny, I was never depressed again or lonely. I fell in love with my characters and I could not stop writing about them. I have four other books written about them to prove that statement.
I write every day, have completed my seventh book and am busy writing my eighth. I hope whomever wins a copy of my books will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing them.
 
Tell us about the setting of your book?
My sister had suggested that I write about my hometown, Satsuma, Alabama. She said, “Don’t call it Satsuma because you might not describe it just right to satisfy everyone that lived back then. Name it Orchard, Alabama,” so I did just that.
As my story began to unfold, it took me away from Orchard up toward Tennessee. 
My main character, Jack Mills, had a career as an attorney in Montgomery, Alabama, to become a trapper in the hills of Gibson, Tennessee. He built a nice cabin and learned from an older man how to trap and care for the hides of the animals. He introduced him to many creek beds and deep valleys in the dark forest where critters were plentiful.
Living about five miles from town, he loved the isolation of the quiet forest where he lived.
I chose this setting because the story unfolded near the quaint cabin where my main character lived. I never know from paragraph to paragraph where my story is going to take me.
 
A Stranger’s Love
Who am I? Where am I? What’s happened here?” These were questions going through the lovely, red-haired beauty stretched out on the sandy, dirt trail.
With bright sunlight in her eyes, she tried to focus on her surroundings. She had to get up, but everything in sight was fuzzy. She felt her head and discovered a bloody gash on the back of her skull. Crawling to an overturned covered wagon, she managed to stand. On the ground lay two corpses. Who were those people?”
Lightning flashed and loud thunder meant a storm was brewing. “Oh, Lord, please protect me.” She had to find someplace to ride out the bad weather. A trail often led somewhere, so she stumbled along until she came upon an opening in the thick forest. There in front of her, stood a quaint log cabin. Thank you Lord, for leading me to my safe haven. https://amzn.to/2ODHrVg
 
 
Smothered Rabbit
Here is a dish that Sally or Faith cut several times in A Stranger’s Love

1 frying rabbit
Flour
Salt and pepper
2 large, sliced onions
Water to cover
Grease
Carrots
Potatoes
 
Heat the grease and dropped the floured rabbit into it and brown on both sides. Drain the exact grease and put back the rabbit into the frying pan. Cover with water. Let meat cook slowly until tender. Place sliced onions, cut-up carrots and potatoes over the meat and cover with heavy lid.  Allow to cook until vegetables are tender.  Serve with corn bread or home-made biscuits. Gravy will be delicious!

January Field Trip to Florida

January 2021 Newsletter

It’s Field Trip Time!

Let's go to my favorite places in Florida!
Sherri Stewart

Our trip to California was cancelled due to the virus, so we’ll make like elementary students and partake of a field trip closer to home—that would mean FLORIDA. We’ll visit my favorite beach, my favorite town, my favorite restaurants, the oddest place in Florida, my favorite theme park, and sample a Floridian recipe. Welcome to my world!

Florida is literally surrounded by beaches, but my favorite is on Sanibel Island near Fort Myers. Why? Because it has more of a tropical feel than a tourist mecca. I’ve seen the most unusual insects and flowers on Sanibel. And it’s famous for its abundance of shells at dawn.
Walks abound all year around in Florida. My favorite time, of course, to walk is November to February when it’s not too hot. Celebration is a cute little town—a throwback to the thirties—for cyclists and walkers. I love to walk around the lake and look for alligators, usually visible in the spring and summer. I almost stepped on an alligator one night when I was walking my dog. I have a picture to prove it.
I also walk Disney’s parks three times a week. I like to go to Epcot, walk around the world, and sample the small plates during their food and wine festivals, which now are available throughout the year. That’s why I never lose weight.
Colombia Restaurant, the oldest eatery in Florida, is actually in Ybor City in Tampa, but there is a Colombia in Celebration. I love to sit outside and eat their 1905 salad, which they make at the table, steaming warm Cuban bread, and Crème Catalan for dessert.
Another favorite restaurant that’s a bit of a drive but worth it is Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami. (not to be confused with Joe’s Crab Shack). Joe’s is famous for its stone crab served cold with mustard, accompanied by hash browns. YUM.
Last but not least is the oddest place ever: Coral Castle
The extraordinary Coral Castle, located in the suburbs of Homestead, Florida, is made entirely of oolite limestone, and one man single-handedly built it. Ed Leedskalnin, a Latvian immigrant, pursued his project as a dedication to his long-lost love. The massive work took place over the course of 28 years, and it still stands today as an ode to love imbued with mystery.

How the remarkable work was built remains an enigma. Leedskalnin never divulged how he was able to lift and position the gigantic stones. Residents had noticed the trucks carrying the coral rocks along the South Dixie Highway, but no one ever saw how Leedskalnin was able to unload them. To protect his privacy during construction, he was very particular about working at night—to avoid any detection—and even went on to build “lookouts” along the castle’s walls.
 
Columbia’s Original “1905” Salad®
Columbia Restaurant Recipe

“One Of America’s Top 10 Best Salads” - USA Today

In the 1970s, this flavorful salad was the Columbia’s answer to the ubiquitous salad bar. Created by waiter Tony Noriega in the 1940s, it was adapted by the Columbia, eventually phasing out the use of black olives and celery.

The Columbia kitchen designed a new dressing that features Worcestershire sauce, lemon, and Parmesan cheese.

Salad Ingredients
  • 4 cups iceberg lettuce, broken into 1 ½" × 1 ½" pieces
  • 1 ripe tomato, cut into eighths
  • ½ cup baked ham, julienned 2" × ⅛" (may substitute turkey or shrimp)
  • ½ cup Swiss cheese, julienne 2" × ⅛"
  • ½ cup pimiento-stuffed green Spanish olives
  • “1905” Dressing (see recipe below)
  • ¼ cup Romano cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce®
  • 1 lemon
Salad Preparation
Combine lettuce, tomato, ham, Swiss cheese and olives in a large salad bowl. Before serving, add “1905” Dressing, Romano cheese, Worcestershire and the juice of 1 lemon. Toss well and serve immediately. Makes 2 full salads or 4 side salads.


“1905” Dressing Ingredients
  • ½ cup extra-virgin Spanish olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • ⅛ cup white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Salad Dressing Preparation
Mix olive oil, garlic and oregano in a bowl with a wire whisk.  Stir in vinegar, gradually beating to form an emulsion, and then season with salt and pepper. For best results, prepare 1 to 2 days in advance and refrigerate. 
 
Joe’s Stone Crab Key Lime Pie

INGREDIENTS
Graham Cracker Crust Filling Topping
DIRECTIONS

For the crust:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter a 9-inch pie plate.
  3. Break up graham crackers, place in processor and process to crumbs (if you don't have a processor, place crackers in large plastic bag, seal, and crush using a rolling pin).
  4. Add melted butter& sugar and pulse until combined.
  5. Press mixture into bottom and up sides of pan, forming a neat border around th edges.
  6. Bake until crust is set and golden, about 8 minutes.
  7. Set aside on wire rack; leave oven on.
For the filling:
  1. Meanwhile, in an electric mixer with the wire whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks and lime zest at high speed until very fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Gradually add the condensed milk and continue to beat until thick, 3-4 minutes longer.
  3. Lower the mixer speed and slowly add lime juice, mixing until just combined.
  4. Pour mixture into crust and bake for 10 minutes, or until filling has just set.
  5. Cool on wire rack, then refrigerate.
  6. Freeze for 15-20 minutes before serving.
For the topping:
  1. Whip the cream and the confectioner's sugar until nearly stiff.
  2. Cut pie in wedges and serve very cold, topping each wedge with a dollop of whipped cream.
  3. Garnish with a slice of key lime if desired.
 
I’m excited to announce that my book, A Song for Her Enemies, is available for pre-order on Amazon. It will be released on March 2nd. $3.99 for eBook. More for paperback. https://amzn.to/3oMOmZt
 
 
Fresh off the presses. If you’re game for dipping your toe in time travel, and have always wanted to see what would happen if the #metoo movement met Hollywood in the sixties, read A Friend in High Places. $2.99 eBook and $6.99 paperback. https://amzn.to/2LLAboZ
 
Meet Lisa Worthey Smith

Multiple award-winning and bestselling author, Lisa Worthey Smith, weaves stories brimming with faith, hope, and love. She draws from her many years as a Bible student and Bible study leader for both profound and simple layers that add spiritual depth to the canvas. Her passion is sharing biblical truths in such a way that readers gain a fresh understanding of how the Word of God is relevant to their lives.
Lisa and her high school sweetheart husband are empty-nesting in north Alabama where she serves as president of North Alabama Word Weavers, tends her hummingbird garden, and tippy taps on her keyboard with a cup of Earl Grey beside her.
My most recent release is a unique blend of biblical fiction and contemporary Christian fiction with a twist of suspense and political intrigue. Set in our time, the main character of The Elijah Mandate lives out many parallel situations as that of her namesake, Elijah. As she navigates through increasingly dangerous situations, Eliana draws strength from how God provided for Elijah, empowering her own prayer life.
The Elijah Mandate on Amazon
 
Tell me about a character in your book, and how that person is like you.
I am probably most like the main character’s mother, Grace, whose dedication to her family and her faith define her. Grace and I both have led fairly simple lives, have worked in the legal field, and enjoy cooking for others. We also each received a prophecy about a child before they were born. Although Eliana—the main character—battles the enemy face-to-face, her mother equips her for the challenge with her prayers and wisdom from God’s Word. Grace’s love for her children might blind her somewhat, but her unwavering faith in God is her abiding strength.
 
Tell me about where you live and what you like about it. What's one thing people should do or try if they come to your town?
I live in a slow-paced rural area in the Appalachian foothills of north Alabama near the Tennessee River, rich with southern drawl, where our schedules are arranged by the college football calendar (insert your own “Roll Tide” or “War Eagle” here). We are blessed with churches planted on nearly every block, and restaurants that offer (very) sweet tea. If you hanker for intellectual conversation, a few miles away you will find a diverse and highly educated population of engineers and rocket scientists.
We are best known for two things. First, Redstone Arsenal, where Dr. Werner VonBraun developed rockets and missiles in the era of the Kennedy presidency, and the home of the Space and Rocket Center and its Space Camp for young people. Second, the barbeque from Bob Gibson’s is famous worldwide. Their barbeque chicken (slow-smoked and served with a white sauce) is worth the trip. Any visit to north Alabama should include both.
We will welcome you to our homes and our churches, and the staff at Wal-Mart will fill you in on anything that I missed.
  
Write about the setting of your book, and why you chose that setting.
Some scenes are in the time of Elijah. I greatly enjoyed researching, then envisioning life in his time and setting the stage for his emotional journey.
Modern-day scenes alternate between the rural area where Eliana grew up and Washington DC. I drew heavily from my own home for the hometown scenes. Her move to Washington for a job at the US Supreme Court allowed me to review the history and symbolism that tied in the urgent modern-day relevance to the time of Elijah.
 
What recipe would your character enjoy eating?
Pound cakes are considered a staple in the south, and a good pound cake recipe is passed from one generation to the next. We serve them with fruit in the spring and summer, and drenched with chocolate ganache in the fall and winter. This is my favorite recipe for a perfect classic pound cake.
In The Elijah Mandate, Grace uses her mother’s recipe to prepare a pound cake for her daughter, Eliana, who comes for a visit. They lavish it with fresh sliced peaches.
 
 
Classic Pound Cake
  • ½ cup salted butter, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (Madagascar is a good choice)
  • ½ teaspoon butter flavoring
~~
  1. Preheat oven to 325°
  2. Grease and flour 12-cup cake pan (10” pan)
  3. With a stand mixer, cream together butter and shortening. Gradually add sugar, beating well at medium speed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix just until blended. Stir in flavorings.
  5. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool in pan 10-15 minutes before inverting it onto plate or wire rack. Do not cover it until it is cool or it will “sweat” and become soggy.
 
NotesIt is imperative that all ingredients be at room temperature before mixing. Only mix until blended. Overmixing will make the cake too fluffy, instead of dense. Avoid opening the oven door or slamming doors will the cake is baking so the cake doesn’t fall. If it does, the center will be gooey. This recipe can also be divided to make two loaf pans. Leave one out for dessert. Freeze the other, wrapped in aluminum foil and sealed in a zip-type bag for up to about six months. This cake is also better a couple of days after it is baked.
I often serve this cake at Easter with sliced fresh strawberries and whipped cream.
 
Variations
Lemon – add two tablespoons of instant lemonade mix, plus the juice and (most of the) zest from two lemons to the batter. Glaze with 1 cup powdered sugar mixed with a few drops of vanilla extract, enough lemon juice to make the right consistency. Sprinkle remaining zest on glazed cake. (If you don’t have another lemon, add a sprinkling of lemonade mix for color and tang.)
Coconut – add ¾ cup flake coconut to batter and substitute ½ the dairy milk with coconut milk.
Chocolate – add 3 tablespoons cocoa to batter, and glaze with chocolate ganache.
 
 
Meet Jill Boyce
 
Jill writes inspirational romantic fiction with a medical theme. Her two debut novels are part of the A Dose of Love series. Each story can stand alone, but both feature strong female leads facing challenging life circumstances while finding love along the way. The third book in the series will release soon. Jill’s debut novel, Harte Broken, was inspired by her love of romance and her walk through the grief of losing her mother on the same day of her daughter’s birth. It raises the question, “What happens when the best day is also the worst one?”
 
Jill is a physician turned stay-at-home mom, who loves coffee, travel, and anything glittered. She treasures spending time with her husband and children, who are her heart and greatest joy. Check out www.jillboyceauthor.com to join her monthly newsletter, and Instagram @ JillBoyceAuthor
 
Tell me about your book , Harte Broken.
 
Time doesn’t heal all wounds. Love does. 
Amy Harte, an emergency medicine physician, lost her mother to cancer suddenly on the day of her residency graduation one year ago. As a doctor, she struggles with not saving her mother and experiencing her best day on her worst. Since then, she has turned from her relationship with God in her guilt and grief. Near the fateful day’s anniversary, her father calls to tell Amy the bank may take her childhood home. Amy knows she must save the house that holds the last precious memories of her mother.
 
Meanwhile, Amy meets a gorgeous Christian man, Seth, who slowly restores her belief in love and God’s goodness. Their happily ever after may have to wait because Dr. Mark Blakely, Amy’s dashing hospital colleague, has never met a woman he couldn’t woo. Still, Amy suspects Mark values the chase more than her heart. Time is running out for Amy to save her family home and release her anger and guilt. Will she discover that love, especially God’s love, heals all wounds? https://amzn.to/3il7KKL
 
How is your lead character like you?
 
Amy Harte is an emergency medicine physician who lost her mother on what was to be the best day of her life. I, too, lost my mom on a “best” day. My mother passed away on the same day as my daughter’s birth, and it presented one of the most challenging times of my life. As I walked through the grief journey, I learned that God gives us beauty for ashes, and amidst the pain, we can find comfort, love, and hope. Out of all of my characters I’ve written thus far, I’m the most like Amy. I studied abroad in college, I like small towns, and family is important to me. My mother was my best friend, so I can relate to Amy’s loss, for it is my own. I hope readers will find encouragement in this story, experiencing both laughter and tears along the way.
 
Where do I live and what I like about it?
I live in a small town in WV. I love the beauty of my state and enjoy the four seasons. I would encourage visitors not to miss seeing the New River Gorge National Park, hiking Seneca Rocks, and biking one of the many trails throughout the state.

How did you choose the setting of the book?
Amy’s story takes place in a fictional small town called Scottsburg, VA. It is loosely modeled off Bridgeport, WV. I love the tight-knit community in a small city, and I love my home state, so I wanted to represent that in the book.
 
What recipe would your character enjoy eating and what is one that is representative of where you live?
I am a terrible cook…absolutely awful. However, if I could cook or bake, I’d share a pepperoni roll recipe as they originated in West Virginia. There are so many bakeries and shops that make excellent versions of this that it’s hard to name one—Country Club Bakery, Tomaro’s Bakery, Abruzzino’s Bakery are all great. Amy Harte’s favorite food is coffee, so I’d probably recommend that. I, like, Amy, have a deep love for coffee in any of its forms. Plus, it’s one of the few things I can make without burning, setting on fire, or accidentally cooking in the wrapper.
 
I hope you’ll join me on Facebook for #faith, fun, hope…and a little coffee.
My second book, Perfectly Imperfect, introduces a germaphobic, infectious disease doctor. The third book in the series, A Prescription for Beauty, presents an insecure plastic surgeon who suffered physical and emotional scars in childhood. www.facebook.com/jillboyceauthor

December Field Trip to Frankenmuth

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December 2020 Newsletter

It’s Field Trip Time!

Let's go to Frankenmuth, Michigan!
Sherri Stewart
 
 

What are your Christmas or Hanukkah traditions? If you’re from a different country, what are some of your unique traditions ? Email me with your answer, or try one of the recipes in this Christmas edition, and score a chance to win an Amazon gift card.
This month we’re taking a field trip to Frankenmuth, Michigan. Growing up near Frankenmuth, our family always made the trip to Bronner’s to buy our yearly Christmas tree ornament, enjoy a traditional German chicken dinner at the Bavarian Inn, and stopped at Kern’s for a stick of summer sausage. Even as an adult, whenever I return to Michigan to visit family, I try to fit in a trip to Frankenmuth. Love the fried chicken and spaetzle!

On Christmas Eve, we always enjoy a bowl of cheese soup, along with charcuterie and Christmas cookies. If you’ve been to Epcot, you’ll recognize this recipe.

Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup
½ lb. bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 medium red onion, cut into ¼ inch pieces
3 celery ribs, cut into ¼ inch pieces
4 tbs. butter
1 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. chicken stock
4 c. milk
¾ lb. grated white cheddar cheese
1 tbs. Tabasco sauce
1 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
½ c. warm beer
Chopped scallions or chives, for garnish
  1. In a 4-5 quart Dutch oven, cook the bacon, stirring over medium heat about 5 minutes, or until lightly browned
  2. Add the red onion, celery, and butter, and saute until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 4 minutes over medium heat. Whisk in the chicken stock and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the milk and continue to simmer for 15 minutes. Do not boil after you add the milk.
  5.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper until the cheese is melted and the soup is smooth. Stir in warm beer. If the soup is too thick, add some warm milk.
  6.  Serve the soup hot, garnished with chopped scallions or chives.
 
Relax with one of Sherri's Christmas books

Entertaining Angels

God has a very special plan for each person, and sometimes He sends an angel to help things along. In this series, Entertaining Angels, you will meet Maude and Claude, two sweet, rather clumsy angels whom God assigns the job of bringing together two worthy people. Enjoy these six romances that received a helping hand from an unlikely source. https://amzn.to/2WpA9oK

The Promise Keeper
Meadow meets Jonathan by chance in London. Two American strangers sharing the same seat at a concert. What are the odds? Thus begins a whirlwind fairy tale in London and in Wales. But all good things must end. They promise to meet at Christmas on the rooftop of Cardiff Castle in Wales in two years if they’re not already spoken for. Will Jonathan keep his promise? If you enjoyed Serendipity and Sleepless in Seattle, The Promise Keeper is the book for you.
https://amzn.to/3eY49Av

Sleeping through Christmas
Lily Rountree wishes she could skip December all together. In fact, for the last two decades, memories of the death of her twin, Poppy, have traumatized her so much that she forgets the simplest things. And she falls asleep at the worst times in the most embarrassing places. But if it weren’t for that unscheduled nap at Simon-Morrisey Department Store, she wouldn’t have met Justin Knight, or overheard his plan to rob the store, an art museum, and a bank. When Justin learns about Lily’s presence, their cat-and-mouse game begins, and the holidays take on a whole new meaning. May contain mild Christian references.
https://amzn.to/2KrF3yV
 
Meet Best-Selling Author, Cynthia Hickey.

Multi-published and Amazon and ECPA Best-Selling author Cynthia Hickey has sold close to a million copies of her works since 2013. She has taught a Continuing Education class at the 2015 American Christian Fiction Writers conference, several small ACFW chapters and RWA chapters, and small writer retreats. She and her husband run the small press, Winged Publications, which includes some of the CBA’s best well-known authors. She lives in Arizona and Arkansas, becoming a snowbird, with her husband and one dog. She has ten grandchildren who keep her busy and tell everyone they know that “Nana is a writer.”

What is your favorite Christmas tradition?

Our favorite tradition is done first thing Christmas morning. Before we dig into our stockings and gifts, we say a prayer and toast Jesus with sparkling cider, then write on a slip of paper only something we can give Him. Then, without anyone knowing what our gift to Jesus is, we put it in his stocking. We've done this since our children were small.

Tell us about where you live.

Although we're snowbirds, spending the winters in Arizona, the small town of Atkins, Arkansas is where we spend the majority of our time. Small town, friendly people, crazy mishaps...we had a long horned steer run through our front yard a few days ago. Pleasures are simple and Christmas is focused on the real reason for the season.

What’s your favorite restaurant in your town?

If you want a taste of Atkins, you'd have to go to Jose's International Cafe. The building has been around since the 1940s. Mismatched furniture and a massive oil painting covers the old brick walls. They serve everything from hamburgers to enchiladas and never lack for business.

 
CAPER STEALS CHRISTMAS

Missing diamonds…again
A snooty cat with a penchant for trouble…
The last thing she wanted was another mystery to solve.


It’s Christmas, CJ Turley’s favorite holiday, only something hovers over the festivities. A cat’s collar disappears and it seems as if Caper, CJ’s darling pup, might be the culprit. It’s easier to believe than suspecting the owners of the cat from stealing from themselves.
Hilarity and mayhem follow CJ and her friends as they try to solve the theft. All CJ really wants is to have a nice holiday with a Christmas party no one will forget.
Full of twists, turns, and laughs, this Christmas novella is sure to please cozy mystery fans.

Caper Steals Christmas: A Small Town Cozy Mystery (A Tiny House Mystery Book 6) - Kindle edition by Hickey, Cynthia. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.


Website at www.cynthiahickey.com

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www.cynthiahickey.com
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Cynthia’s Old-Fashioned Strawberry Pretzel Salad
    
A cool strawberry gelatin salad with a cream cheese middle and pretzel crust.

Total Time: 1 hr 45 mins

Servings: 10

Ingredients
•    ¾ cup butter, softened
•    3 tablespoons brown sugar
•    2 ½ cups crushed pretzels
•    1 (6 ounce) package strawberry flavored Jell-O®
•    2 cups boiling water
•    3 cups strawberries, chilled
•    1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
•    1 cup white sugar
•    1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Directions
•    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
•    Cream butter or margarine with the brown sugar. Mix in the pretzels and pat mixture into the bottom of one 9x13 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside to cool.
•    In a medium bowl, dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water and stir in the strawberries. Chill until partially thickened.
•    In a small bowl beat the cream cheese and white sugar together until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream. Spread mixture over the top of the cooled crust, making sure to seal the edges. Chill then pour the gelatin mixture over he cream cheese layer. Chill until firm.

 
Meet Author Colleen Snyder
I've always had a passion for writing. I authored two previously published books: Journey to Amanah: The Beginning and Return to Tebel-Ayr: The Journey Continues (B&H Publishing)(1991, 1993). Vicki Crumpton was the acquisitions editor, and I was her first acquisition! I currently live on a  5-acre “ranchette” in California with my mom, my sister and her husband, four dogs, one (mostly invisible) cat, two horses (one a quarter horse, and one a mini horse.) I will forever be in training as the (very) juniorest ranch hand. I  serve on my church prayer team and exercise ministries of encouragement and intercession. I have worked as a factory line worker, pharmacy technician, USAF missile systems analyst, nanny, janitor, teacher, and whatever else the Lord required. My story is for His glory, always.

Describe where you live.
My official mailing address is "Madera, CA, but we live way outside of town. We are at the entrance to the "Gateway to Yosemite." Sounds picturesque, doesn't it? The only ones who see the Gateway are the cows that inhabit the fields on either side of the highway. I love living where I wake up to cows lowing, goats baying, ducks and chickens clucking, along with the sounds of hawks and other birds.
I also love seeing the Milky Way with naked eyes. There isn't an abundance of trees, so I can see for miles and miles...My sister and I have sat through the night to watch meteor showers and even saw a comet. If you come this way, you need to keep driving and go to Yosemite National Park! The map says 40 miles, but those are 40 mountain miles, so plan on taking a couple of hours to get there!

 
Tell us about your new book, Verdict at the River’s Edge. It looks like a page-turner.

Collin Walker, a social worker from the inner city of Oakton, Ohio, has come to Camp Grace for what is billed as “an extreme sports camp.” Her single purpose: to show her ward, Rob Sider, that there is more to life than the streets “…show you can be strong and still love, win without cheating, and succeed in life without all the bells and whistles…” Collin has no way of knowing that God has other plans for her week: facing a lifelong terror of rushing rivers, and perhaps her greatest fear of all, the possibility of love. https://amzn.to/34mF12x

What is your favorite Christmas tradition?
The one I remember most was with my children in Ohio. They would leave cookies for Santa, and Santa would always write a letter to them, directing them back to the Lord’s birth, but there was usually some incident that would make Santa leave in mid-sentence. My daughter and son would keep track of whose year it was to put the star on top of the tree. We would attend Christmas Eve service at church, then come home and open the presents from Aunt Tippi from California. Hers were the only ones allowed to be opened on Christmas Eve.
 
I found this recipe for Peppermint Dip, and thought, hey, it would make a really good pie, too! And it does!

Colleen’s Peppermint Dip Pie

2 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powder sugar
½ tsp peppermint extract
8 oz Cool Whip
1 package (12 oz.) Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips
1 package (12 oz.) Andes chocolate mint pieces
If you can’t find the Peppermint baking chips, used crushed peppermint candies/candy canes.
1 9” Oreo (or graham) pie crust.
 
Directions
Beat the cream cheese until smooth, about 1 minute.
Add the sugar and peppermint extract and beat until smooth.
Add the Peppermint chips (or Andes chocolate mint pieces and the candy canes)
Fold in the Cool Whip until well blended.
Place in pie crust; refrigerate for 4 hours; preferably overnight.
Sprinkle with crushed peppermint pieces before serving.
 
Unless you can pulverize the candy canes (or can buy them pre-crushed) letting the pie sit overnight will “melt” the candy canes, leaving a wonderful taste, but not breaking anyone’s teeth on a chunk of hard candy.
 

blog post

Try this wonderful Welsh version of our grilled cheese, called Welsh Rarebit. Easy, inexpensive--like fondue on crusty bread. Check out the recipe and other interesting tidbits about Wales in my newsletter. http://eepurl.com/gZ-mv9

 

Image may contain: food

 

 

blog post

 

After we return from the Christmas Eve candlelight service, my family has always loved a bowl of hearty soup, charcuterie, and Christmas cookies.
4 large onions, thinly sliced
4 T butter
4-10 oz cans condensed beef broth ( or a box and a half)
½ cup sherry or white wine
2 t. Worchester sauce
French bread sliced thin (1/2 inch) rounds and toasted
1 cup parmesan
2 cups white cheese (gouda, muenster, asiago—your choice)
Cook onions in butter until tender. Add wine, Worchester, pepper and bring to boil.
Pour into ramekins or a casserole dish. Float bread on top. Sprinkle cheese on top. Cook at 375 until cheese is melted and bubbly.

 

If you like this recipe, follow me at amazon.com/author/sherristewart

 

My Ten Best Books of 2019

1. The Bible (a chapter a day) 2. Rebecca 3. The Diary of Ann Frank 4. To Kill a Mockingbird 5. Behind Closed Doors 6. The Hiding Place 7. The Goldfinch

8. Grateful American 9. Were the Crawdads Sing 10. The Seven Sisters

My Guest, June Foster's, books of 2019

Dreams Deferred  (April 2019) Amazon

Frances Matthew Hall is obedient to family tradition: all firstborn sons will serve as a priest. Now Matt officiates at St. Aloysius Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas. But when on Easter Sunday, he notices a beautiful young woman who takes his breath away, he must fight against his attraction to her or leave the priesthood and alienate his entire family.

Mary Louise Graham is a middle school teacher and devout catholic. Yet no amount of service to the community can ease the heavy load of guilt she carries. God can never forgive her unspeakable mistake. But when Father Matt tells her about a forgiving God through His son Jesus Christ, she’s free. Only thing, the Godly priest now means more to her than he should.

Can two people find their way to each other amidst insurmountable obstacles? Dreams Deferred is inspired by the author’s great grandfather and great grandmother’s story.

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The Long Way Home Amazon (January 10, 2019) 

David Maguire’s tour of duty in Germany is over, and he’s returning home to Oak Mountain, Alabama in search of a job. After a long flight from Frankfort, he shares an Uber with Dallas resident Jada Atwood.

Jada Atwood, a registered nurse midwife, is on her way to a medical conference in Queens. If only she could live up to her father’s legacy at the hospital where she works, she could prove worthy of his reputation. Marriage awaits yet her fiancé has yet to offer a ring.

When the Uber driver must make a stop to pick up a passenger at a Queens shopping center, two men who robbed a nearby bank commandeer the Ford as a getaway car. But when they discover two passengers, they have to get rid of the extra baggage.

After the kidnappers murder the Uber driver, David and Jada fear for their lives. Will they find their way home or die in a Pennsylvania forest?

 

 

 

Dancing in a Field of Daisies, a devotional    Amazon   (January 15, 2019)

The Christian walk is sometimes filled with potholes, rocky paths, and steep hills. Yet the Lord is there making the way straight. June Foster shares her journey—the joys and the trials—through fifty devotionals she’d written over the last ten years. Some are geared toward those of us who’ve reached the twilight years, yet all embrace the joy and peace only a life with Jesus can offer. Come alongside June as she explores God’s word and rejoices in the Lord. Leave your cares and join the dance in a field of daisies.

A New Idea

Issues!

Many of us have issues, quirks, and problems that had their inception at childhood.

As I finish book 12, it occurs to me that all my lead characters have issues from their past that hamper their present.

Any friends out there who deal with things from their childhood? I'm no shrink, but I can relate. How about sharing what works and what doesn't work? We'll use books, current events, art, movies.... whatever, as prompts to begin.

I'll start with Ragdoll. Ramona had a stepdad who liked to drink.

 


 

What exactly is Rosebud?

For me, the view of the sled is a statement on the deceit of the pursuit of happiness.

Irma Makes Me Think of Disaster Films

As we waited to be evacuated, disaster films came to mind for discussion. Which one tops your list?

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