Saturday Share: Special Cake Recipe

Since this is Easter weekend, I'm making a special cake.

This is an old recipe from the day when mayonnaise was used in cake recipes.

If you think about it, mayonnaise is nothing but oil and eggs so Chocolate Velvet Cake and Frosting is not as gross as one may think. The mayonnaise makes this a really moist and delicious cake.

Chocolate Velvet Cake and Frosting is very similar to a frosted German Chocolate Cake. I think you and your guests will really love it.

Cake Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour, no need to sift
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 3ggs
  • 1 cup plain mayonnaise - not fat free, low fat, etc. because the cake won't turn out well
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Cake Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. and prepare a sheet cake pan by greasing and flouring or spraying with Baker's Joy or a similar product.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the flour, soda, and baking powder.
  • With a mixer in a separate bowl, beat the sugar, eggs, and mayonnaise at high speed 3 minutes.
  • Reduce speed to low and blend in the cocoa powder until well blended.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture, alternating with the water, blending well after each addition.
  • Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.
  • Cool completely in the pan.
Frosting Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 1/3 cup Baker's Coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Frosting Instructions
  • In a saucepan, combine the brown sugar and the margarine and bring to a boil.
  • Over medium heat, boil for 2 minutes.
  • Add the milk, coconut, and pecans and combine well.
  • Boil for 1 more minute, stirring constantly.
  • Spread over the top of the cake.
  • Broil for 3 minutes, 6 inches from the heat source or until golden brown.
  • Cool before serving.
  • Cover and refrigerate any leftover cake.
Takeaway Truth

Wishing you a joyful Easter.

Unforgettable Suspense: Hot and Dangerous


The latest box set collection my friends and I have published, Unforgettable Suspense: Hot and Dangerous, is kicking booty on the Amazon Top 100 Bestsellers list.

The numbers adjust every hour, but this collection has been trending up in sales since it published.

Now it's in the Top 100 in the Kindle Store.

You'll see it in these categories:

Keeping Romance Alive ~ 1 Sexy Book at a Time
Kindle Store / Kindle eBooks / Romance / Collections & Anthologies and also in Books / Romance / Anthologies.

If you like romantic thrillers, get Unforgettable Suspense: Hot and Dangerous now.

Free Book Offer

While you're shopping on Amazon, grab a free copy of my short story LuvU4Ever, a sexy contemporary romance.

Review: "This is one of the most erotic and romantic stories I've ever read."

Review: "Poignant and Well-Written."

Takeaway Truth

If you want some leisure reading, grab this box set for only 99cents--and only at Amazon.

Need a Chuckle?

Today I'm pet sitting at my daughter's house for a couple of days.

While here, I'm trying to keep writing since I have a deadline looming.

My big hundred pound doggie friend likes to sleep a lot so that gives me some focused time.

Life has been very busy lately so I need a good laugh today. This YouTube video provided that.

By the way, I'm trying to get back in the hosting mode so if you'd like to Guest Star on SlingWords, email me. If we haven't met before, use the Contact Page on the blog to get in touch with me.

Now, try this for a chuckle.

Peter's Computer Desktop Cleanup

Takeaway Truth

Life is full of deadlines so I'll conquer this one as soon as possible.

Link Love & Resources

I've been reading a lot of great blogs recently. Here are a few you might like to try.

Writing Business

3 Book Promotion Ideas by Christ Naish on Nicholas Rossis.

Author Confessions: Guilty Pleasures. Once a month I write an Author Confessions Post at Gems In The Attic. Leave a comment with your email to be entered in a Giveaway.

Trending Kindle Categories 2018 on K-Lytics. You definitely need to subscribe to K-Lytics if you're interested in online book marketing and promotion. They have the stats to back up their reports.

Internet Trolls from Psychology Today. This was published in 2014, but is a fascinating article based on 2 studies done where personality tests were given to 1200 people. The results were scary. If you want to know why some people act the way they do when "protected" by anonymity, be sure and read this.


What Your Gut Reveals on Doctor Oz
The power of the gut is the latest thing in medical care and disease prevention. This quiz is to educate you and help you assess the relative health of your gut.

Quick Health Tips for Office Workers is what you need to read if you spend most of your time at work. Take it from me, sitting at a computer all day long is one of the worst things you can do! I have the muscle spasms, back pain, eye strain, and hand/wrist issues as evidence. These 5 tips are easy, common sense, and something you should incorporate into your work life.

Living With Chronic Pain?

My daughter is. She suffers from Adhesive Arachnoiditis, characterized by, but not limited to, severe shooting pain that can be similar to an electric shock sensation. Every day is a struggle with pain. She works diligently to have some kind of normalcy in her life.

This year, she started a blog, Adina Mayo, to pass on information she has learned: Fighting back against chronic pain with a simple, creative, & healthy lifestyle. Inspiring others to become warriors.

If you have a chronic pain problem, check out her posts. She blogs in these Categories:
  • Alternative Medicine
  • Bullet Journal
  • Dealing with Chronic Pain
  • Healthy Eating
  • Instant Pot
  • Minimalism
  • Organization
  • Simplify Your Life
  • Smart Finances
  • Smart Health
  • The New Normal
  • Treat Yo'Self
  • Whole30
  • Yoga
Blogging Resource

CheckiDay is a daily listing of holidays or special days like National Black Forest Cake Day which is today. If you can't think of anything to blog about, websites like this can spark the imagination.

Days of the Year, if you don't find something you like in CheckiDay, try Days of the Year.

This Day in History is a wonderful resource to give you ideas for blog posts.

Cliche Finder is a good jumping off point for your imagination. Need a cliche but can only think of one word, i.e., dog? Use their search engine to find more than 100 cliches containing that word.

Takeaway Truth

If you like these websites, share the love and pass on this post and/or the web links above.

Download Microsoft Office Compatibiity Pack

If you're running older versions of Microsoft Office, you might want to download the MS Office Compatibility Pack before they pull it from the market.

This compatibility pack is what you want if you want to open, edit, and save documents, workbooks, and presentations that were created in the newer versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

They're retiring this Office Compatibility Pack in April 2018. When that happens, it will no longer be available for download and will no longer receive security updates.

If you choose to install this, be sure and read the Details, etc. before trying to download and install.

Takeaway Truth

Tech changes constantly. So much so, that it's often hard to keep up with it. If you need this, better get it soon before it goes away.

I Dub Thee...How To Name Characters

I'm in the process of writing Second Chance Bride, Book 2 of All Brides Are Beautiful.

Of course, some of the characters from April Fool Bride, the first book, appear in this new book, but there are new characters naturally.

A Rose By Any Other Name

That calls for names. Naming a character may be more time-consuming than you imagine.

You want a name that would probably have been used when the character was born. You probably wouldn't name a baby Hortense today, but in the 1800's that was a perfectly acceptable name for a girl.

You may want a name that indicates ethnicity. A native Japanese woman might be named Miko Higa whereas an American Japanese woman might be named Melnie Higa. America is the great melting pot so as the generations move on, "American" given names become popular.

Changed Names Can Stay The Same

Of course Americans who celebrate their ethnicity may include a name that is traditional. Or they may take the traditional name and an Americanized nickname.

One of my ancestors was a Choctaw woman whose name meant "morning" in English. When she converted to Christianity, she took the name Morning Amanda. 

You may want a name that immediately indicates power, prestige, or social status. The name James Robert Courtland III immediately makes you think he's some high muckety-muck probably born with a silver spoon in his mouth. A reader wouldn't think the same if he were named Jim Bob Courtland.

These are just some of the issues to consider when choosing a name for a character.  

Takeaway Truth

I spent a couple of hours last week creating names to go with the people in Second Chance Bride. When you read the book, you'll have to tell me if I nailed it or not.

Texas Trivia: 90 Day Wonder

Ever heard the expression, 90 day wonder? That phrase came about during World War I after the United States declared war on Germany.

Necessity, The Mother of Invention

There was an immediate need for combat officers leadership so in May of 1917, the War Department opened 16 officer training camps in the U.S. One of them was Camp Funston--which I bet wasn't much fun!

Located near San Antonio, the camp produced combat leadership officers in only 3 months.

After 90 days of intensive training, almost 2,000 army officers graduated from the un-fun Camp Funston. The combat officers who completed this aggressive form of training were called, wait for it, 90-day wonders.

By the way, Camp Funston was renamed Camp Stanley on October 2, 1917, in honor of Brigadier  General David Sloane Stanley, a Union officer under Sherman in the Civil War.

Along the way, the property encompassing the camp was increased, and it's mission changed. Today, it's primarily a storage depot, quality assurance center, and weapons training facility.

Takeaway Truth

Don't you love the origin of words and phrases?

Glenn Frey: What Bad Reviews Mean

Image by Steve Alexander CC BY-SA 2.0 (See Note Below for Details)
It's no secret that my favorite band of all time is The Eagles -- collectively and individually.

Darling Hubby sent me a YouTube link that I watched (when I should have been writing.)

It was an interview with the late great Glenn Frey.  on a YouTube interview. He said something I love!

"I firmly believe that if you're getting bad reviews, you're doing something right."

In some cases, I think that's very true because it probably means that what you're doing creatively is something that's more than 10% new.

Limits On New and Different

I read many years ago that the buying public always wants something new and different, but not more than 10% new and different because that's way more out of the box than they can accept.

Takeaway Truth

I still can't believe Glenn Frey is gone. Taken way too soon. RIP.

Note: Image by Steve Alexander, originally posted to Flickr as Glenn Frey, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0.

Homage To Spring

I was so busy on the first day of Spring that I failed to notice it! That might be because it was unseasonably cool here.

Of course, I'll take cool over the snow that's been hammering the country in various areas.

I love spring, doesn't everyone? I'll make my homage to Spring by quoting the late funny man, Robin Williams, who said, "Spring is nature's way of saying, Let's party!"

I plan to party in the garden this weekend. The lemon tree is covered with buds and those delicate blooms perfume the entire backyard. I'll be transplanting my giant rosemary from the big patio pot into the ground.

The Redbud trees started blooming a few weeks ago, the azaleas are blazing with color in every yard, and the bluebonnets are popping out along the roadways.

Let me finish on a more profound note. Long ago, I told my daughter who was trying to make a decision in the midst of emotional turmoil: "Never make an important decision when you're an emotional wreck."

Takeaway Truth

Pastor Robert H. Schuller said it more eloquently and included a reference to winter and spring so I'll leave you with his words.

"Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come."

Merlin's Merlot, Exceptional Wine

Darling Hubby Larry and I have always enjoyed wine. A few years ago when we bought our house in the country, we decided to start a very small boutique winery.

Unfortunately, he was traveling most of every month, and I was always writing when I wasn't helping my daughter. We never found the time to get going on our little winery. We read a lot--my hubby more than me--about viticulture, but we never found the time to get the property fenced, properly prepare the ground, select and plant the root stock, and all the other details.

Three years ago, we decided to buy wine grape juice and actually make wine. After all, we didn't know if we'd actually like the time involved, the fermentation process, and other elements of making and bottling wine.


We both like Merlot so we decided to start with Merlot juice. After reading extensively, he knew he wanted to "oak" it. We also wanted it to be a soft Merlot so we added some dried elderberries.

We made a few mistakes along the way, but we bottled that first batch of wine--23 bottles I think. Six months after bottling it, we tasted it and were stunned by how good it was. After another 6 months, we sampled another bottle. It was better than many expensive wines we've bought.

Today, I had a meeting with my cover artist so I took a bottle to her. We've given bottles to friends and family, and all who have drunk it have enjoyed it--even raved about it.

Naming Our Wine

After we had bottled our first wine, I was texting one of our sons and one of our daughters about it. I texted, "It's Merlot." They texted back, "What is Merlin wine?"

iPhone's auto-correct had changed it. I texted again, "Merlot," and this time it went through. The return text? "Merlin's Merlot? That's a neat name."

I gave up trying to explain via text message so we've just all called it Merlin's Merlot.

2018 Wine

A couple of weeks ago, Larry and I decided we needed to start making wine again so by the time we run out of our Merlin's Merlot, we'll have some new wine ready to sample. This time he bought Pinot Noir juice. It was in the primary fermenter a little over a week. Now it's in a carboy, still bubbling in the airlock which means the yeast is still active.

In another week, Larry will rack it into another carboy. Racking means transfer the wine via a long tube and gravity into another big glass carboy.

He'll probably rack it a few times before he stabilizers and clarifies it. Then he'll bottle it, and store it in the back of the pantry at the ranch. That's where the next ingredient will be added to the bottled wine. That ingredient is Time.

Takeaway Truth

Sometime in the fall, we'll open a bottle and see if it's drinkable so stay tuned!

Release Day: Unforgettable Suspense ~ Hot and Dangerous

UNFORGETTABLE SUSPENSE: Hot and Dangerous - only 99cents
Do you like Romance flavored with Suspense? Then you should love Unforgettable Suspense: Hot and Dangerous!

This is the second of 7 box set collections I'll be in this year. I'm calling these collections my Lucky 7--that's better than calling them the Labors of Hercules.

They kind of feel like 7 of the 8 Labors even though I'm not called upon to fight a Hydra or clean out stables.

Instead of mythic monsters, I'm battling lack of time and low energy. The day after the New Year pushed out the old, I started working on my submission for the first set.

Organization Tip

Since I have so many projects planned this year, in January I created a written timeline with the due date in the left column and what must be completed, submitted, or whatever in the right column. As I meet the deadline, I mark through the item with a bright yellow highlighter. That gives me a huge feeling of accomplishment, and the Timeline keeps me on track. It also keeps me from being overwhelmed.

This is an easy tool, and it works for anyone with various responsibilities. As new deadline dates crop up, I add them to the master file, strike through those completed, and print a new copy.

So far, I'm keeping up. Box Set #2 published today, and I've already submitted my formatted manuscript for Box Set #3, and I'm working on my submission for #4.

Unforgettable Suspense: Hot and Dangerous

Enough about deadlines and organizational tools. Let me tell you more about Unforgettable Suspense: Hot and Dangerous, the box set that published today.

Ripped from the headlines! Eight electrifying page-turners where Danger walks hand in hand with Romance.

Intrigue, passion, danger, love, revenge, romance--these 8 stories from New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors offer heart-pounding entertainment until the very end.

If you like unforgettable suspense then you’ll LOVE this collection.

Authors and Titles

SWEET RETALIATION, Mimi Barbour, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author: A gripping story about one woman's quest for justice!

NEIGHBORS AND MORE, Mona Risk, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author: When a neighbor dies in a Florida High Rise, it's suddenly too close for comfort in the building.

POOL BOY WANTED: No Experience Preferred, Dani Haviland, USA Today bestselling author: He'd never known a woman before, and that's just how she liked it.

HEAT LIGHTNING, Joan Reeves, New York Times and USA Today bestselling: Amnesia left Tessa with nothing but questions. Who is she? Why does her husband--a virtual stranger--seem to hate her even as he pulls her into his arms? How can she trust him when her gut says, Trust no one? As her love for David grows, so does her feeling of foreboding--as if something awful is watching and waiting.

SECRET LOVE, Natalie Ann, Award-winning author: Danger is just as blind as love.

SHEER PLEASURE, Patricia Rosemoor, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author: Annie never dreamed her fantasies would lead to danger.

Rx MISSING, Rebecca York, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author: Are Marc and a group of strangers trapped in a mind-control experiment?

SPIRIT OF A CHAMPION, Nancy Radke, USA Today bestselling author: A champion who won’t quit. Even when men are sent to kill her.

Unforgettable Suspense: Hot and Dangerous is an Amazon Exclusive, and it's only 99 cents or free if you're a Kindle Unlimited subscriber. Get it today!

Takeaway Truth

Sign up for my Mailing List. and receive a free ebook.

The download link will be sent to your inbox. You'll also be the first to know about new books and giveaways.

2 Quote Sunday

I remember when I was growing up that no one worked on Sunday. We went to church, went home, ate a nice dinner, and read or played.

No stores were open in my little southern town. No one did laundry, cleaned house, ran errands or anything that seemed like work.

I thought about this after putting in 12 hours working today on various writing projects. Whatever happened to resting on the Sabbath?

I found a couple of quotations I thought I would share. Both are from Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Clergyman, according to the Internet.

"It's very important that we re-learn the art of resting and relaxing. Not only does it help prevent the onset of many illnesses that develop through chronic tension and worrying; it allows us to clear our minds, focus, and find creative solutions to problems."

The other one: "We humans have lost the wisdom of genuinely resting and relaxing. We worry too much. We don't allow our bodies to heal, and we don't allow our minds and hearts to heal."

Takeaway Truth

There is much wisdom in these quotations. I think I'll try to remember that next Sunday.

Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty by @StacyJuba

I'm excited to have my friend Stacy Juba visiting today. Stacy writes delightful romances, and I'm pleased to say she has just released a new book in her Storybook Valley series.

About Stacy Juba

Stacy Juba got engaged at Epcot Theme Park and spent part of her honeymoon at Disneyland Paris, where she ate a burger, went on fast rides, and threw up on the train ride to the hotel.

In addition to working on her new Storybook Valley chick lit/sweet romance series, Stacy has written books about ice hockey, teen psychics, U.S. flag etiquette for kids, and determined women sleuths.

She has had a novel ranked as #5 in the Nook Store and #30 on the Amazon Kindle Paid List.

Stacy is also the founder of the Glass Slipper Sisters, a group of authors with fairy tale-themed romance novels. When she’s not visiting theme parks with her family, (avoiding rides that spin and exotic hamburgers) or writing about them, Stacy helps authors to strengthen their manuscripts through her Crossroads Editing Service. She is currently writing the next book in the Storybook Valley Series.

Visit Stacy Juba Online: Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Amazon Author Page *  Sign Up for Stacy's Newsletter

Stacy's Imagination At Work
What a theme park princess thinks

I asked Stacy that question readers always ask.

Where do you get your ideas?

I always seem to get ideas for my Storybook Valley novels when I’m on vacation.

The first book, Fooling Around With Cinderella, occurred to me when I was visiting a fairy tale theme park with my family.

We had just taken pictures at Cinderella’s castle, where the cheerful princess posed with my daughters. As we were leaving the castle, an idea popped into my head.

What if there was a reluctant theme park Cinderella? And what if she fell for her boss?

(I later named the boss Dylan.)

For the second book, Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty, I knew it would be about Rory Callahan, Dylan’s younger sister. Since she made an appearance in the first book, I already knew that she was a dance teacher named after Aurora from Sleeping Beauty.

What I didn’t know was how the book would begin.

One afternoon, while visiting my in-laws at their beachfront condo, I happened to glance out the window and see an airplane flying over the beach with a banner streaming in its path.

Usually these airplane banners advertised restaurant specials like pizza deals, or events such as a wet T-shirt contest. However, this time it had a more unusual saying: Will you marry me?

Instantly, I knew that was how I had to open the book. Except with this being a romantic comedy, I had to make it humorous. Plus, I couldn’t have Rory engaged to her soulmate on page one. What fun is that? I decided to make the scene a comedy of errors. Since the banner would say, “Will you marry me, Rory?” naturally she would assume the proposal was for her. But what if it wasn’t? And what if her boyfriend wasn’t her prince, anyway?

You can read some of the scene below. I hope you enjoy this peek in Storybook Valley, my fictional family-owned theme park in the Catskills of New York.

Sneak Peek: Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty
by Stacy Juba © 2018

High above the crowded beach, an airplane skimmed the cloudless blue sky, its hum a distant whine over the thunderous surf. Behind it trailed a banner with red block letters. Cupping her hand over her brow, Rory Callahan squinted in the glaring sunlight.


She gasped, and her bare feet pressed into the gritty sand. Rory gripped the sides of her sunken beach chair. Her boyfriend, Dr. Brad Walker, a general surgery medical resident at Mountain View Medical Center, occupied the second chair, engrossed in a sports magazine, oblivious to the romantic gesture—or pretending he was oblivious.

Rory had accompanied him to the Jersey Shore for his parents’ thirtieth anniversary party. When Brad suggested a morning at the beach before driving back to the Catskills, she never expected a marriage proposal. Her stomach clenched, the semi-queasy reaction surprising her.

After all, she had wanted this—well, maybe not this, not yet—but Rory had wanted a declaration of love from the guy her mother worshipped and that her annoying big brother insisted “wasn’t that into her.”

 Obviously Brad was into her. This proved his willingness to make their relationship work. She would show her brother, and her friends, too. Rory knew her roommates worried that Brad didn’t carve out enough time for her, but unlike Dylan, the girls minded their own business.

All brides-to-be probably felt jittery during the proposal. She choked down the very normal mound in her throat, reached over, and touched Brad’s hand. “I had no idea you were planning this. Yes. I’ll . . . I’ll marry you.”

Brad dropped the magazine onto his nearby flip-flops as if sand fleas had nested inside the pages. His chiseled face had blanched whiter than his pale chest, arms, and legs. Summer was almost over, and Rory would bet this was the first time he’d worn the charcoal print swim trunks she bought him.

“What? What the hell are you talking about?”

This Sleeping Beauty isn’t sure she wants to wake up…

Dance instructor Rory Callahan likes to play it safe. When she meets Kyle, he’s impulsive, persistent, and her exact opposite. He’s pushing her to tango way past her comfort zone and keeping Rory on her toes more than twenty years of dance teachers ever had.

Unfortunately, he’s the grandson of her family’s arch rival and she doesn’t want to disappoint them. After all, her parents imagine her as a proper princess - hence her namesake Aurora, AKA Sleeping Beauty. Complicating matters, Rory’s also dealing with a surgeon boyfriend who’s perfect for her (sort of), an obnoxious boss, and desperate dance moms. Kyle wants to change her whole life, but Rory doesn’t like the stakes. After all, princesses are the ones who get the happy endings. . .aren’t they?

Add Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty to Your Library

You'll find this chick lit romantic comedy at: Amazon * Barnes & Noble * iBooks * Kobo.

Takeaway Truth

Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty. You'll be glad you did.

Authors RIP

In reading the Winter 2017 issue of Authors Guild Bulletin, I reached the end and the In Memoriam column. I'd like to note some of these authors who provided much reading pleasure for me beginning in childhood and carrying into adulthood.

Richard Adams, author of Watership Down, passed at the age of 96.

Natalie Babbit, author of Tuck Everlasting and other popular children's novels, passed at age 84.

E. R. Braithwaite, born in Guyana and Oxford-educated, passed at the age of 104. He was the author of the memoir To Sir, With Love. When I was a young teen, that movie starring Sidney Poitier with the theme song sung by Lulu, was powerful. I canstill sing every word of the song. I didn't know it was the memoir of an amazing and accomplished man until I was an adult.

Lois Duncan, now called a pioneer in teen suspense, was the author of more than 50 books for children and young adults. She was "discovered" by more than readers when her novel I Know What You Did Last Summer hit the big screen. She was 82.

Carrie Fisher. Yes, everyone in the world knows this actress most famous for her Star Wars role. I remember her though for the novels she wrote. Novels? Well, most were thinly-disguised memoirs. My favorite was Postcards from the Edge and Surrender the Pink. She wrote screen plays and also served as a script doctor on many movies. She was only 60.

W. P. Kinsella, the author of Shoeless Joe, one of my favorite books ever which was the basis for Field of Dreams, one of my favorite movies, passed at the age of 81.

Elie Wiesel, died at the age or 87 at his home in Manhattan. In addition to being a lifelong activist and lecturer on the Holocaust, he was the author of 60 books and the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. His books were based on his experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. To me, Mr. Wiesel was a hero who had the courage to talk about the worst time of his life. He always spoke out against crimes against humanity.

Remember The Lessons of History

When I was a child, we had neighbors who had survived the death camps. I remember the first time I saw the numbers tattooed on Mr. Keller's arm. I grew older and heard their stories along with the story told by one of my mother's friends who was Belgian and whose parents tried to flee when the Germans rolled in.

I guess knowing these people who shared their memories sparked the interest I've always had for the history of WWII, a war in which my dad fought but who hated to talk about it. I've always believed history should never be whitewashed and markers obliterated. The only good that can come of horrible events is to learn from them and vow that they will never be repeated.

Takeaway Truth

Perhaps you notice something these authors have in common, with the exception of Ms. Fisher. They were all long-lived. For some reason, authors seem to live longer than the norm.


This is kind of old news. I was looking through the last few issues of Authors Guild Bulletin, the official magazine of Authors Guild, and saw a piece about the rise of short-form books.

The article mentioned the launch of James Patterson's new book line called BookShots.

Patterson's line is from Little, Brown which is an imprint of Hachette Book Group. They started out with 21 short books to be published from June through December 2016.

Like much of Patterson's work now, his name is in the big font, and there's a co-writer on each of these short books--small font of course.

Each of these books range between 140 and 160 pages it seems. I checked a few of them out, and they appear quite popular. On Amazon, they're also labeled Kindle Singles of course.

A typical example is The House Husband, cover shown at left.

Question for Readers

Do you like these short books? If you do, why? Is it because you can have a satisfying read in an evening rather than spreading a book over a week or two?

If you don't like them, why not?

Takeaway Truth

Readers, I really want to hear from you. Comment any time or use the Contact Form on the blog to email me your opinion.

Health Tip: When & How To Eat

I've been going through old magazines to see if I want to keep them.

In one, I read a little health tip I thought I'd pass on--especially if you're dieting.

When To Eat

According to research, it does matter what time you eat.

If you eat nutritionally sound, modest-sized meals and snacks spaced throughout the day, it helps keep your blood sugar stable.

A lot of people eat most of their calories at night. That's not smart because dumping what amounts to a day's worth of calories in all at one time makes it more difficult for your body to assimilate or manage that large amount of food without secreting extra insulin.

Other research indicates that people are more insulin resistant at night so you get a double whammy.

Perhaps we should take to heart some ancient wisdom. The Greek poet Hesiod, circa 700BC said: "Observe due measure; moderation is best in all things." The Roman Plautus, circa 250–184 BC, said it again, "Moderation in all things is the best policy."

Takeaway Truth

Even Benjamin Franklin said it, with a twist: "Moderation in all things--including moderation." Of course, he had a sly sense of humor.

Review: Wind River

Wind River, a gem of a movie, was recently added to Netflix.


A veteran tracker with the Fish and Wildlife Service helps investigate the murder of a young Native American woman, using the case as a means of seeking redemption for an earlier act of irresponsibility which ended in tragedy.

Superb Cast

Starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen, along with the always-excellent Graham Greene, I was surprised by how moving the movie was even as it ratcheted up the tension from opening scene to The End.

The other nice surprise is how Renner, who plays tracker Cory Lambert, nailed the accent and attitude of a native son of Wyoming. I've been to Wyoming. It takes a survival mentality to endure the winters not to mention the other challenges in a state with a population slightly more than 585,000 inhabitants and an economy driven by mineral extraction (oil, gas, coal, mainly) and tourism.

Renner as Lambert, estranged from his Arapaho wife due to the tragic death of their daughter, is compelling and believable. Yes, he's seeking redemption, but it's more of an unconscious part of his makeup than an overt goal.

In fact, I think he's driven more by a need for justice. Forget law and trials and appeals. Lambert is a hard man, living in a hard world. As he tells rookie FBI Agent Jane Banner, played by Elizabeth Olsen, when Banner says she survived because she was lucky: "Luck lives in the city. Luck doesn't live here."

Lambert is not a vigilante, but, in his world, he knows that sometimes you get justice only when you make it happen--that would be Old Testament type justice.

Olsen is excellent in her role as the newbie FBI agent Jane Banner, who's smart enough to know she's out of her element with not only the case but also the unforgiving landscape and weather of the state of Wyoming.

There are some errors and/or goofs in the movie, but don't let that detract from the excellence of this film.

Takeaway Truth

If you're looking for a riveting story, emotional resonance, and superb acting, choose Wind River.

Make Your Social Media Stand Out

This is so cool. Motion Elements has 10 new amazing vertical templates for social media.

I clicked the link in my daily email from them and just had to preview all of them. They're all awesome. I especially liked Fast Stomp Opener and Short Vertical Magazine.

If you're looking for something to make your social media site stand out, look no further.

Just choose one of these templates to create an exciting vertical video for your social media. They're  inexpensively priced from $5.00 to $20.00.

Takeaway Truth
Motion Elements

Standing out is difficult when there are millions of sites competing for attention. If you try one of these templates, let me know how easy it was to use.

Saturday Share: Paleo Orange Ice Cream

My daughter has changed the way she eats and cooks. She's completely Paleo now in her battle against chronic pain. Diet is one of the tools she uses to manage pain.

Some of you may say, "It couldn't possibly make that big a difference." Perhaps, the difference in pain level isn't that large, but when you have a condition where you're always pinging 9 and 10 on the pain scale, any improvement in managing that pain is significant.

She and her husband are coming for dinner tonight so I made a dessert that fits her Paleo lifestyle. It was easy and tastes really good.

Paleo Orange Ice Cream


3 large navel or blood oranges
5 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1- 13.5 ounce can of Native Forest Organic Classic Coconut Milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla


Peel and section the oranges. Place slices on a cookie sheet and freeze.

Open the can of coconut milk and stir gently. Dump the contents into a blender container and blend well.

Add the frozen orange slices in batches, blending well after each addition until all have been blended up.

Add the maple syrup and blend well.

Add the vanilla and blend well.

Pour into a freezer safe container and freeze until solid.

To serve, remove from freezer about 10 minutes ahead of time to make it easier to scoop. Serve with sliced strawberries, blueberries, and other fresh fruit of your choice with each scoop.

Takeaway Truth

Healthy foods can also be delicious foods.

Start A Herb Garden

Image Credits at End of Post
Whether you say "a herb" or an herb (with the h silent), now is the time to start your herb garden.

I thought while I wait for my son and one of his daughters to arrive for a visit, I'd tell you how easy it is to grow your own herbs.

I'm in Zone 8 so growing herbs year-round is usually not a problem here. This winter was most unusual. We had 2 snows, an ice storm, and several days of freezing and below temperatures.

Despite all that, my rosemary continued thriving. It's well established. My rosemary started as a tiny plant much smaller than the image at left. Now it's a bush 2 feet tall and wide.

The other herbs froze back, but they're already coming out. I love using fresh herbs in cooking so growing my own is worth the tiny bit of trouble.

How My Herb Garden Grows

My herb garden is in giant flower pots on my back deck.

If you're still expecting more below freezing days/nights, you can start your herb garden in flower pots in a window that gets a lot of light.

Once the fear of frost passes, transplant them to bigger pots outside or into the ground when the ground temperature is warm enough.

Herbs love lots of sun. Plant the ones you use most in cooking. When they are thriving and you need some, just nip what you need. If you need a bunch, harvest from a fourth of your growing plant by cutting a couple of inches above the dirt.

Then next time you harvest, select a different portion of your growing plant. This way, part of the plant is always replenishing.

Herbs are natural pesticides. Use compost to add to your soil. Don't use chemical fertilizers and pesticides. This keeps your herb garden organic and natural. Plant a mixed grouping in a pot for a visual and aromatic disply.

Takeaway Truth

It's fun to grow your own herbs. Kids can do it. The herbs are fragrant, and there's something immensely satisfying about growing your own herbs.

Image Credits

Rosemary, Photo by monicore from Pexels

Kindle Fire TV Stick Rocks

This is another late night post. Darling Hubby and I seem to be keeping late hours, mainly because I'm not getting my work done in the daytime.

When Darling Hubby and I moved into our home in Houston, we bought Smart TVs because we planned to cut the satellite TV service. For 2 older TVs, we bought a Sony Blu-Ray DVD Player that had smart apps.

This worked well. Hubby installed an antenna in the attic, and we reduced our monthly TV expense from over $100.00 to around $20. for Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Life rocked along just fine until a couple of our Smart TVs lost their app license I presume because YouTube disappeared from 2 of the TVs. Then 1 of the Sony Blu-Ray players bit the dust.

Even though we watch the HD broadcast channels from NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, etc. we really love Netflix and Amazon.

When I saw that Amazon had reduced the cost of their Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote to $29.99, we decided to order one and see if it would be a good source for the online streaming we love.

It came today. Tonight, Hubby plugged it into the HDMI port on the TV, and that was all that was needed to make it operational. We just selected the online apps we wanted--PGA Tour Golf, BBC, Smithsonian, Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, and a few others, all of which were free with no fee or subscription required--and entered our passwords where necessary. That was it!

As I was adding apps, I had a genius idea. First, let me tell you it's the easiest thing to add apps to your TV. Use your PC. Go to the Fire TV Stick page, cruise the various categories, select your app, click to download it to your TV, and that's all you have to do.

There are TV stations from everywhere. My genius idea was to use a TV app to do research for locations. Want to set a book in Hawaii? Just download some of the TV station apps from Hawaii. You get to see what's making the local news there, the weather, etc.

Takeaway Truth

Truly the first plug and play device I've ever experienced! I highly recommend this Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote. We've ordered another for our house in the country.