Archive | March, 2012

Bed and Breakfast Food

13 Mar

This post was set up to publish when I was traveling last week, but somehow it didn’t happen. But it is happening now, and I hope everyone enjoys the recipe and thoughts of a delicious breakfast!

My novel The Gate House takes place in a bed and breakfast in Lincolnshire, England. I have stayed in a few bed and breakfasts in  the US, Ireland and the UK, and they all have one thing in common — wonderful food! In the UK it was the full English breakfast, complete with mushrooms, tomatoes and baked beans next to the eggs. In Ireland the breakfast was similar, but there was always wonderful brown bread to go with it. In the US  it can be anything, but there is usually some sort of egg dish as the star of the meal.  Breakfasts also often include something sweet — a pastry, coffee cake, or sweet roll.

Here is a recipe for my grandmother’s coffee that is simple and delicious. Make it and pretend you are staying at a bed and breakfast in England. Or have a slice in the afternoon with a cup of coffee or tea.

Grandma Kate’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake

2 c. sifted flour, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. baking powder, ½ tsp. salt

½ c. butter or margarine, 1 c. sugar, 2 eggs, 1 c. sour cream (yogurt works just as well),1tsp. vanilla

Topping: Combine 1/3 c. brown sugar, packed, ¼ c. sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 c. finely chopped nuts (optional)

Sift dry ingredients together. Cream butter and sugar; add eggs one at a time, beating well. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. Pour ½ batter into pan, cover with ½ of topping, pour remaining batter over filling and top with rest of topping mixture.

Bake at 350˚ for 40 min. Use tube pan or oblong pan. If you use a tube pan, put a layer of topping in first because you will turn it upside down when you take it out.

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Book Review and Other Thoughts

10 Mar

Now that both my parents have passed away, I find myself increasingly interested in the World War II era. And now that The Gate House is scheduled for re-release in May, I am almost ready to submit the sequel to The Gate House, which has a working title of Lydia’s Story.

Lydia is the great-grandmother of Nara, the main character in The Gate HouseShe left diaries that Nara has found, and she learns of her life during World War II in London.

I recently reviewed a novel for Suspense magazine that is set at the end of World War II in Berlin. It is one of a series, and I have not read the preceding one, but I found it an excellent story.

Review of Lehrter Station

Lehrter Station is David Downing’s fifth book in his John Russell series, all named after railroad stations in Berlin which each has a special significance to the story.

Set against the devastation of Berlin in 1945, Lehrter Station is a spy story whose characters struggle to reclaim their lives after World War II. The city has been divided into British, American, French and Soviet sectors, and it is becoming clear that the lines are being redrawn with the Soviet Union as the new enemy for the Western powers.

John Russell is a double agent, spying for the Soviet Union and the United States, not because he wants to, but because he owes a debt to the Soviets for his son’s life. When Soviet agent Yevgeny Shchepkin “requests” that Russell move back to Berlin from London to spy for the Soviets, he has no choice.

Russell and his girl friend Effie, a film actress, return to Berlin and are witnesses to the fragmented lives of the survivors of war. Human life is cheap after the bombings, rapes and mass exterminations of the concentration camps. Since Russell is a journalist by profession, he is on the look-out of a good story as a cover for his espionage activities. He finds a story in the exodus of Jews from Europe to Palestine. But on his return to Berlin, he finds that Effie has been involved in some risky clandestine operations of her own.

Author David Downing portrays an incomprehensibly tragic time and place in history in a manner that shows us the humanity of each character, as well as pointing us in the direction of the world political situation today. He weaves history and fiction together in a way that entertains and makes the reader think at the same time. It is an intelligent and powerful book.


New Cover for The Gate House

4 Mar

 

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It has been a long process to reach the point where I am two months out from re-publication of The Gate House. The book was originally released in July, 2009, and the timing could not have been worse for me personally. Outside of the fact that it was my first book and I had no idea what I was doing as far as promoting my book, my life was complicated.

My mom had become ill will visiting me a few months before, and she passed away in July. She did not have a chance to see my book in print. I was teaching full time in a urban high school, and the job was stressful to the extreme.

I had some sales, but things sort of lagged along. I eventually quit the job  so I could spend more time writing, and have a life!

When my publisher, Virtual Tales, announced in April, 2011 that they were going out of business, I felt that suddenly I was not a writer anymore. I had a book published, but it was not available anymore. Fortunately, Whiskey Creek Press picked up The Gate House, and I feel as if I have a second chance.

It will be out again in May; I just received the new cover art and I love it! I have another manuscript that I hope will be published reasonably soon, and I feel like a writer again.