National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!

Let’s celebrate! It’s National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day in the UK and the USA.Chocolate Chip Cookie

Do you love your cookies thin and crisp? Or would you rather have your cookies soft and moist? Do you love nuts in your cookies? Or do you prefer a nut-less cookie? There are as many chocolate chip cookie recipes as their are people who love to EAT chocolate chip cookies.

Now for some recipes!

Here’s a recipe for SOFT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES.

And here’s a recipe for BIG, FAT CHEWY ones.

(:::Whispers::: The secret to soft cookies is to slightly underbake them.)

If you love THIN AND CRISPY COOKIES, try here. Or you can try this recipe.

I couldn’t believe it, but I actually found a NO BAKE cookie recipe.

Let’s talk nuts! Food and Wine magazine has a nutty version where you can add either walnuts or pecans. While Bon Appetit adds hazelnuts.

Let’s talk flavorings. Here’s a recipe that features NUTELLA. Here’s one that adds OATMEAL. And here’s one that makes the dough CHOCOLATE. (Can there be too much, chocolate? I don’t think so.)

Parade Magazine offers recipes with a twist–additions like caramel, browned butter, peanut butter, bananas, and more. I urge all bakers to check out this article!

I don’t know Johnny Iuzzini, but over at Ambitious Kitchen blog they’re featuring his recipe for KILLER cookies. Take a look to see what you think.

I even found some recipes dubbed THE WORST EVER. I have to admit, I was chuckling. Can there BE a bad cookie?

You can find my traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe here. It is an adaptation of the recipe I found in my Betty Crocker Cookbook. I made a few changes.

You can find my favorite non-traditional recipe here. This recipe features white chocolate chunks and macadamia nuts. Yum!

 

7 Items People Forget to Pack for a Trip to the Beach by @Donna_Fasano

It’s August! In my neck of the woods, that means hot, sunny days at the beach. Can you imagine that 40% of the people who were asked when they pack for their trip to the beach answered “the night before”?  The night before! That last-minute scramble to toss things into a suitcase means there are always important things that are forgotten. Here’s a list of the top 7 items people forget to pack for a trip to the beach.

Trip to the Beach

 

7. An Extra Bag for Souvenirs. Do yourself a favor and pack an extra tote for to carry home your souvenirs—t-shirts, sweat shirts, beach towels, salt water taffy, delicious fudge, buttery caramel popcorn. Believe me, you’ll need an extra tote!

6. A Book to Enjoy. Relaxing on the beach is the very best place to enjoy a beach read. Hardback, paperback, or e-book; it doesn’t really matter. There is nothing like turning those pages while digging your toes in the sand.

5. Comfortable Walking Shoes. Taking a long walk on the beach can wreak havoc on the soles of your feet. Blisters are not fun. Pack an old pair of comfortable walking shoes and enjoy that stretch of sand.

4. Beach Umbrella. Sitting in the blaring sun starts off kinda nice. But after an hour or so, the shade of a beach umbrella will be a great relief.

3. Sunglasses. Protect your eyes! The sun’s rays are stronger near the water and sand due to reflection. Grab a pair of sunglasses and protect yourself from those UV rays.

2. Toothpaste. It sounds crazy, but people brush before leaving the house and forget their toothpaste. Keep a couple of travel-size tubes ready for any trips you might take.

And the most forgotten item???

1. SUNSCREEN. Yikes! Sunscreen comes in a wide variety of SPFs. When planning your trip to the beach, choose the sunscreen that’s right for you and toss it into your suitcase. Your skin will thank you!

Have I got a Beach Read for you!

ROMANCE BEACH BUNDLE 1 is on sale for just 99¢! You save $7 off the regular price of this 3-book bundle. Here’s what readers have to say about the sweet, clean bundle of books:

“I enjoyed all three. The characters were funny romantic and delightful. I would read this author again.” ~Rosemary, Kindle Reader

“I really enjoyed reading each of these books. Each had excellent story lines and drew me in from the first page.” ~Ruby B, Kindle Reader

Click here to get ROMANCE BEACH BUNDLE 1 for just 99¢

 

Origins of Writing by @KatyWalters07

Writing is actually a fascinating concept. I often ponder on how and why it evolved. What are the origins of writing? Why did we start? Was it to facilitate trading? Did authorship develop from that same source? Or was it an entirely different avenue? How did the two separate avenues of vocalization and sign language evolve? Did people listen to the trickles of a steam or the raging of a volcano and try to mimic them, and in so doing, built up a language? Did signs, the separate consonants, and vowels evolve from vocal sound of a whistling wind? A raging storm?

Writing

When I was writing my latest novel it began as an historic suspense romance but changed to comedy which I’ve never aspired to write but did when faced with illness. The point is, in my story, an Immortal appears in the later chapters. As authors know full well, characters have a habit of just springing into a novel without any prior warning and the writer, if being true to his or her muse, does not delete it. So I came to the point of this character’s language. Yes, he did have one, but how would it sound?

How would immortals or even our earliest ancestors exchange goods or ideas? Would they vocalize the sound of a raging wind, the crackle of thunder, the howl of a wolf? Further, how would they put it down in writing? Would they use signs that literally describe the wind? If one looks at the letter ‘W’ it does actually give the initial sound of the wailing of the wind. Now it’s the same interpretation in German – interesting.. So in portraying the language of an immortal, I imagined how he or she would vocalize the sound of space, nature, the elements and animals. It was thought provoking and made for  interesting writing but then I realized my reader would be nonplussed with the variation of description and use of vowels. I know I was.  So I deleted hours of the painstaking adaption of our language to the renderings of the Immortal.

Getting a Glimpse of the Origin of Writing

I do appreciate the system of writing varies; the Egyptian symbology is different to the Chinese, and so on. So I thought, maybe if I did a little research on each writing system, I might glimpse the source or origin of writing if not vocalization. Maybe with a fleeting thought might come some enlightenment? So for starters. The letter ‘O’ simulates the howling of a wolf, the ‘o’ has facets of the howl as does the ‘w’ as it carries on the wind. How did these vowels come about?

Thereagain, did singing come first? The high notes of the soprano emulating birds or raindrops or the base/baritone vocalizing the thunder of the storm. If I was just starting out I might have opted to research these fascinating concepts.

Another reason for the above is my interest in the history of the evolving presentations of the modern novel. I was fascinated with the presentation and language of the first novel in our literary history, entitled ‘Pamela ‘created by Samuel Richardson, 1740. He used the epistolary style form which was quite absorbing.

At university, amongst other subjects, I did study the etymology and formation of our modern language from two main roots of our Western language, the soft poetic lilt of Latin languages and the harsh pragmatism of the Teutonic; of course there are the softer tones in the Germanic language, but that is another area of debate.  We were instructed to write one short story using the Teutonic roots and then another from the Latin. I had to work through dictionaries for nearly every word.  It was not tiring at all, it was fascinating.  It appears a crime novel benefits from the use of the Teutonic – Germanic languages whilst a romance needs the Latin.

I see I’ve written enough for now but will return next time with more ideas and hopefully you will have some as well, I would welcome your input and comments.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

If you love Regency Romance with a bit of suspense, I invite you to take a look at A LADY’S PLIGHT, Book 1 of my Lords of Sussex Series.

A Lady's Plight

 

A Cruise to the British Isles

An affable cruise representative met us at Heathrow Airport, London, and accompanied us to the bus that drove a whole group of passengers to the ship terminal in Southampton, where we boarded the ship, our home away-from-home for the next twelve days. We didn’t visit London where we have previously spent time.

The next morning we docked in Guernsey Island (St. Peter Port), 30 miles west of Normandy,  where the French author Victor Hugo lived in exile for 25 years at Hautevile House and wrote both Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. We were welcomed with a gorgeous sunny weather and 70 oF temperature for our visit of the island, an idyllic paradise with cobbled streets and picturesque seafront marina.

Guernsey is not part of the United Kingdom but it is part of the British Islands. Residents speak English and French, and their money is similar to the English pound. Many of the houses in Guernsey’s west have an unusual strange piece of granite sticking out of them – these are “witches’ seats”. Back when they supposedly ran wild in the western parishes, residents built them onto their houses so that the witches could stop and rest, rather than causing havoc. The world-renowned Guernsey cow produces some of the most rich and delicious dairy products in the world.

St. Peter Port is the main town on the island of Guernsey. It’s full of hills, colors, and super cute shops! The top speed limit in Guernsey is 35 miles/hour. If you drive along the coastline of Guernsey you will hit military fortifications almost every 2 minutes or so. These were built during the Napoleonic wars to protect Guernsey from France.

The Little Chapel is actually the smallest chapel in the world! But the astonishing thing is that the entire chapel, interior and exterior, is covered with broken bits of pottery, glass, and china. 

We sailed to Ireland and stopped in Cork where we visited the romantic ruins of Blarney Castle. In the Blarney garden, the trees were dressed in knitted wool. Many visitors climbed the one-person narrow stairs to the Stone of Eloquence, all the way to the top of the castle (NOT me) and admired the amazing view.

In the Blarney village, we shopped for wool and Waterford crystal, and didn’t buy any, but we enjoyed watching young girls performing an Irish dance for us.

Dublin, capital of the Republic of Ireland is an old city boasting imposing castles and estates. The Druids believe the shamrock could ward off evil and the Christians believe it represent the Holy Trinity. In Dublin, we visited Trinity College and St. Patrick Cathedral.

Trinity College is huge, with several buildings. We were impressed by the crowd of young people and students. A Ford ancestor was autistic, and bullied by his friends. He was shot and fell from the window and died. They say that his ghost roams the University ground. His sibling left and went to the US. His grandson is Henry Ford.

TRINITY COLLEGE founded in 1592

At St. Patrick Cathedral we saw  the tile of Dean Jonathan Swift, who had been the dean of the Cathedral. When someone dozed during his homily, he had a chaplain drag his sermon chair to the culprit and hit him with his cane. My son-in-law’s grandmother had the same name and claimed him as an ancestor.

Our next stop was Liverpool, England, where we visited a very modern and circular church, the Catholic Metropolitan church of Christ the King and the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral that is humongous, of Gothic style in red brick, with gorgeous painted glass.

We strolled along Penny Lane and took pictures of the street where the Beatles lived.

In Belfast, capital of Northern Ireland, we visited the yard of City Hall with Queen Victoria statue and a moratorium for the people who died in the Titanic. The “unsinkable” Titanic was built in Belfast over two years and sailed from Liverpool. After it was built, the engineer said: “Not even God can sink the Titanic.”

In Scotland, we docked in Greenock and drove through Glasgow. Our guide wore a lovely yellow kilt. We passed by George Place, in front of the spectacular City Hall, big square with several statues, among which that of Walter Scott.

After a day at sea, we were still in Scotland. Our next stop was in Inverness and Loch Ness. We woke up at 5:30 am for the long ride by bus. It was rainy and cold but worth it. I stoically waited under the rain with my umbrella while my husband climbed up the old castle.

During my visit to Guernsey, I was greatly impressed by the peaceful island that boasted a tumultuous history. As our guide described the special autonomy and numerous privileges the residents enjoy under the leadership of a Lieutenant Governor, I decided that this Channel Island would become the Principality of Rensy Island, the setting of a new series of romance novels. So far, I have five books relating the stories of the princes/princesses from Rensy Island. I hope you will enjoy reading this series.

A Bride For Prince Paul: She can’t abandon her patients for his crown! A Bodyguard For The Princess: A murder at Harvard in Princess Chloe’s student building. Jingle With My Princess: The doc and the princess… He saves lives but Princess Charlene may save his heart. Prince Philip’s Cinderella: A charming jogger saves her from danger. But he’s a prince… and she comes from nothing. Should she run or risk her heart? A Dance for Prince Eric: A ballerina with a promising career on the run for her brother’s sake. A charismatic prince who saved them both. Do fairytales exist?